In addition to and separate from pops, Imperator: Rome defines individual characters. The characters in Imperator are deeply detailed, and together with the pops and the politics are part of what makes a vibrant living world. They have portraits that age gradually, with lots of different ethnicities covering the world. Characters occupy positions and serve as the rulers, advisors, governors, generals, and more who run the country and its administration, but also have fickle loyalty and must be kept either loyal or in check lest they become discontent and use their considerable resources to start a civil war.
Every character has a name by which they are normally identified, partly assigned at birth, partly inherited from the character's parents, and partly given over the course of a character's life. A character's name can be divided into 4 distinct parts, usually arranged in the following structure:
[Given name] [Regnal Number] [Nickname] [Family name]
Italic characters have a special naming system that reflects Roman naming conventions, with the cognomen (nickname) coming last and simplified names for females. Male Italic characters then use following naming structure:
[Given name] [Regnal Number] [Family name] [Nickname]
Female Italic characters use following naming structure:
[Family name] [Given name (Number)] [Regnal Number] [Nickname]
A character's primary name is their given name, or praenomen, which is assigned at birth (or when created) and is usually randomly chosen from a list of names determined by the character's culture group, but can also be manually set or changed for children born to the current ruler. This is the main name that characters are usually referred to by.
Italic female characters are not assigned a usual praenomen. Instead, they are given a Latin number based on their order of birth, with the first daughter being "Prima", the second being "Secunda", the third being "Tertia", and so forth. Their given name is also placed after the family name, unlike with Italic male characters.
Certain countries and dynasties have a tradition of rulers taking on a specific regnal name when they ascend the throne instead of retaining their original personal names, typically in honour of the dynasty's founder. Under some circumstances, anointed heirs will also be given the choice to take on a regnal name before they fully ascend to the throne.
- The Seleukid dynasty of the Seleukid Empire will alternate their kings between the names Seleukos and Antiochos
- The Lagid dynasty of Egypt will always give their kings the name Ptolemaios, and their queens the name Kleopatra
- The Mithridatid dynasty of the Mithridatic Kingdom and Pontus (if formed from the Mithridatic Kingdom) will always give their kings the name Mithridates
- The Zipoeteid dynasty of Bithynia will alternate their kings between the names Prusias and Nikomedes
- The Attalid dynasty of Pergamon will alternate their kings between the names Eumenes and Attalos
When a character is born, he or she will typically take on the family name of his or her father, identifying the family that the character comes from. Depending on the culture, the family name may differ slightly between male and female forms. Children of minor characters will not receive a family name, and are known only by their given names.
Randomly generated minor characters will instead take a random name from the family name list of their culture group. Due to the relatively small number of possible family names for many culture groups, it is common to see unrelated characters with the same family name.
- Main article: Cognomen
Characters may gain a nickname or cognomen (for Italic-cultured characters) that references one of the characteristics or accomplishments, typically given to victorious generals after a triumph or granted to a governor, as well as through certain events. Characters of the Italic culture group have a more sophisticated system where cognomen can be gained when reaching adulthood and inherited from father to son, as well as being placed at the end of the name.
A character can only have one nickname at a time; if a character acquires a new nickname, the old one will be removed.
Rulers of monarchies have a regnal number that distinguishes them from previous (and future) monarchs with the same name. Regnal numbers are in Roman numerals and usually counted starting from the beginning of the game, with the starting ruler receiving the regnal number I, though certain countries start with with a list of already used regnal names and numbers to ensure a historical naming scheme.
Every character has a large range of stats that determine their skills and standing across all sorts of different fields, each with a different effect.
- Main article: Attributes
The 4 main stats, or attributes, represent the character's skills and ability in some of the most important facets of serving an office and ruling a country. Attributes are mostly fixed and generally will not vary much over the course of the game after a character reaches adulthood, unless they are seriously injured.
- Martial represents a character's ability to fight and lead troops. Characters with high martial skills make excellent generals.
- Finesse represents a character's skill in disciplines requiring a high attention to detail. High finesse characters make excellent governors.
- Charisma is a character’s ability to charm and persuade others.
- Zeal is a character's ability to inspire faith in other characters, and also in calling upon the favour of the gods.
Secondary stats are more diverse and represent everything about a character from how well known or liked they are to their current health or loyalty to the state. Most of these are generally less important than a character's primary attributes, but should still be taken into consideration when appointing a character to an office or deciding whether or not they might become a threat.
- Age is a requirement for many parts of public life, from education to taking office. A character reaches adulthood at 16, though many types of republic have age requirements significantly above that for their rulerships, and older characters will become increasingly susceptible to terminal illnesses.
- The Health stat of a character ranges from 0 to 100, and is increased or decreased by various traits (particularly illnesses). If the health of a character reaches 0, that character will die. Using the Seek Treatment character interaction will increase the health of the character with a chance of permanently injuring the character. Unlike all other stats, the health of a character is not shown exactly - instead, the interface gives a general indication of how healthy any particular character is.
- Statesmanship represents how experienced the character is in the matters of government. It is accumulated over time by holding jobs and offices as well as the finesse attribute and some traits, and determines how effectively attributes are applied towards government offices.
- Prominence represents the fame of the character. Jobs and titles help bring characters to public attention, and make it more likely that they will be elected in republics.
- Popularity is a measure of how the people see the character. In republics high popularity characters are more likely to be elected leader of the republic and will have higher senate influence. However even monarchies cannot ignore popular people - and monarchs must be mindful of their own popularity.
- Loyalty is a measure of a character's loyalty to the state. Disloyal characters are more likely to cause problems to a ruler than loyal ones, will refuse to listen to orders, and can even drive a realm towards civil war. However even the most loyal of characters has their limit.
- Corruption is a measurement of this character’s willingness to engage in underhanded practices. Greed, bribery and the bending of rules come hand-in-hand with high corruption. Corrupt characters will take more than their wage would normally be and are likely to anger provinces under their control.
- Holdings provide income and power base to a character, and are usually concentrated among the family heads. However characters may also invest in territories they have a personal connection to.
- Wealth: Every character can accumulate money based on their jobs and holdings, which can be used to further their personal ambitions.
- Power Base represents how much influence a character has in a country, and is accumulated from many different sources, such as jobs and offices, holdings, commanded and loyal cohorts, governorships, family prestige (applied to family heads only), and more.
- Succession Support determines who will become ruler when the current ruler dies or finishes their term. How this is calculated depends on the ruler type: monarchies determine this entirely by familial relationships, republics by popularity, prominence, family prestige, and faction support, and tribes by the value of the character's attributes.
- Faction Conviction: In a republic, every adult character has a predilection for each of the 3 senatorial factions, with the current value the sum of the total accumulated predilection so far. The amount gained (or lost) per month depends largely on the character's traits, attributes, and other characteristics, and they will join whichever faction they have the highest conviction for.
- Senatorial Influence: The number of seats that a faction controls is determined by the total senatorial influence of its members. Senatorial influence is largely determined by a character's power base, but can also be increased by popularity and a number of traits, while governors and generals will find it hard to effectively exert their influence far away from the capital.
Most characters will have different relationships with various other characters, whether inherited through blood and marriage or developed through interactions. These relationships are important in determining how characters interact with each other, and the ruler's relationships are particularly important for loyalty and the functioning of the realm.
- See also: Consort
Every adult character can have one spouse of the opposite gender. Characters will generally only marry within their own country, although it is possible for a marriage to be arranged between the ruling families of two different monarchies. A character will usually only have children with their spouse and will not reproduce if unmarried, although there are some events where bastards can appear, mostly firing for the ruler. Marriage of the ruling character and close relatives in a player-controlled realm is handled through the Arrange Marriage interaction. Incestuous marriages between close family members (parents, siblings, children, and grandchildren) are forbidden unless the Familial Marriage monarchy law is enabled.
Characters have relatives as determined by their familial relations, with the parents, siblings, and children displayed directly in the interface. The main importance of relatives are in monarchies, where succession is determined by family relations with the exact rules depending on the Succession Law. Close family members of the ruler - parents, siblings, children, and grandchildren, even if not of the ruler's family - can be married off with the Arrange Marriage interaction. Bloodline traits can also only be passed down from parent to child, with the exact rules depending on the trait. If they are currently minor characters, it is also significantly cheaper to adopt certain close relatives - children and siblings - into the ruling family.
Every character can have a certain number of friends, controlled by the max friends modifier. Friends tend to be loyal and supportive of each other, such as supporting the government if friendly with the ruler and moving to support the other side in a civil war if one of their friends goes into rebellion.
Friends of the ruler get the following modifiers:
- +15 Loyalty
- +0.01 Monthly Family Prestige
- +50 Primary Heir Attraction
- Monthly Optimates Conviction: +0.01
- Monthly Oligarchic Conviction: +0.01
- Monthly Conviction for Ruler Faction: +0.10
It is generally useful for the ruler to make friends with other powerful characters in the realm, such as family heads and strong generals and governors, especially those with a somewhat lower loyalty who could use the buffer. In particular, making friends with family heads may give you opportunities to revoke their most populous holdings, reducing their income and power base.
Friendships between the rulers of two different countries will increase mutual relations by 25 opinion, making it useful for increasing opinion a little higher for diplomatic action approval if relations have already been fully improved and gifts sent. Foreign characters can also be recruited to join a country's court if they are friends with the ruler, at the cost of aggressive expansion.
The ruler can make friends using the Make Friends character interaction, as long as they have friend slots remaining. When you start befriending someone, you will be presented with several events, where each option provides different amounts of progress. You need to choose either:
- 2 large options
- 3 moderate
- 1 large, 1 moderate, 1 small
This process might cost you up to 100 gold or 5000 manpower or increase tyranny by 5.
Friendships can be ended at any time with the Remove Friend character interaction.
Every character can have a certain number of rivals, controlled by the max rivals modifier. Rivals dislike each other and will tend to take aggressive actions and schemes against each other, up to and including assassinations.
Rivals of the ruler get the following modifiers:
- -10 Loyalty
- -0.10 Monthly Family Prestige
- -25 Primary Heir Attraction
- -10% Monthly Wage
- Monthly Conviction for Ruler Faction: -0.10
Rivalry does not have as strong a loyalty impact as friendship does, but it is nonetheless recommended to generally avoid rivalries with powerful characters.
In addition to as an effect of various events, rivalries can be started at any time with the Make Rival interaction as long as there are rivalry spots remaining. Making a domestic rival costs 5 popularity, while making a rival of a foreign ruler requires the relations be below 0. A domestic rival can be removed at any time with the Remove Rival interaction at the cost of 30 political influence, and a foreign rival if relations are above 0.
Most characters in a country are part of a major family. Members of a family are usually related to each other and children will inherit the family of their primary parent (usually the father), but it is also possible for characters to join a major family through adoption.
Characters in a major family will automatically marry shortly after they reach adulthood, with the main exception of the ruling family of a player-controlled country. Members of the ruling family will usually not marry except through the Arrange Marriage interaction; as only close relatives of the ruler can marry using this interaction, this means that more distantly related family members will generally not marry. This is generally most problematic in monarchies as the ruling family rotates in republics and tribes, and means that without intervention, the ruling family will typically shrink to become much smaller than the other families, limiting the talent pool that can be drawn from when giving out positions to appease the ruling family. This can be dealt with either by constantly adopting promising minor characters or marrying close relatives, particularly sisters, daughters, or granddaughters to more distantly related members of the family to ensure they reproduce.
Expected number of positions
- Main article: Position#Mechanics
Major families expect to have their members hold a certain proportion of all currently held assignable positions in order to be content. Any family that does not hold its expected number of positions is considered scorned, which gives a significant loyalty malus, while a family that instead holds at least double the number of expected positions is grateful, which gives a number of bonuses. Ensuring that all families are content, even if this requires appointing less-skilled but more politically connected characters to important positions, is an important part of character and family management.
Every family has an associated prestige value, which represents how prominent the family has been throughout the country's history. Prestige is accumulated passively from all the positions, wealth and cohorts controlled by the family's members; prestige can also be increased from various events. Family prestige gives bonuses to power base, prominence, senate influence, statesmanship, and more to the head of the family, with the effects scaled according to how large a family's prestige is compared to the total prestige of all the families in the country.
Head of family
Each major family has a head, usually the oldest member of the family; the main exception is the ruling family of monarchies, which is always helmed by the ruler. The head of each major family gets the following modifiers for each percentage of the total family prestige in the country that the family has:
- +0.25 Prominence
- +1.2 Power Base
- +0.001% Monthly Statesmanship
- +0.005% Loyalty Gain Chance
- -0.75% Senate Influence
- Monthly Optimates Conviction: +0.0015
- Monthly Oligarchic Conviction: +0.0015
Additionally, all holdings pass to the head of the family when a character dies, which means that heads of families tend to have the highest wealth and power base in the country, even before considering positions. It is therefore dangerous to appoint them as governors or generals, as the loyalty impact of their very high power base means that it will be difficult to keep them consistently loyal. Appointing them as a researcher or to a government office is recommended if they need to be given a position, as those do not increase power base and matter less if they become disloyal.
When a country is conquered or annexed, three family heads from the conquered state can be invited to join the conqueror's court as minor characters, along with a few of their family members. All other characters will be executed or disappear into obscurity.
Number of families
The maximum number of major families in a country depends on its rank, ranging from 3 for City States and Local Powers to 5 for Great Powers. In tribes, the number of families is instead the number of clan chiefs, which is generally the same as the number of families for other government forms, except for Major Powers.
If the number of major families is less than the maximum - usually after rising in rank - then an event will trigger creating a new family from one of the 3 most powerful minor characters in the country. Similarly, if the number of major families is higher than the maximum, then one of them will fall from grace and all of its members will be demoted to minor characters.
Characters that are not part of a major family are considered minor characters. Minor characters do not have a family head and do not benefit from the effects of family prestige, which generally means that they are unlikely to accumulate a large power base unless granted a particularly large army or region to govern. They will also not marry automatically and usually do not have a family, although it is possible to manually marry relatives of the ruler to them like with any other unmarried adult character.
Minor characters will automatically appear in the court from time to time and might be of any existing culture or religion in the country, though they will still generally be of the primary culture and religion. In tribes and monarchies they can be adopted into the ruling family at any time with a base cost of 10% of the family's current prestige and 10 legitimacy (more if the character has a high power base); other families may also adopt minor characters if their size becomes too small.
- Main article: Position
One of the main roles of characters are to be assigned to various positions in a country. Besides being the ruler of a country, they could be assigned to govern a province, command an army, handle research, or be given a role in the government, providing various bonuses depending on their traits and attributes and the position they are assigned to in exchange for pay, prominence, and increased power base. Major families will always expect to hold a certain percentage of all positions in the realm, and can become grateful if they are given much more than expected. Managing the family composition, loyalty, and competence of position holders is an important part of internal management and ensuring a stable, prosperous realm.
Positions in the government include:
- Co-Ruler and Consort
- Government Offices
A character's power base represents the weight of influence a character has, though his/her wealth, connections, commanded and loyal soldiers, and level of authority. Every unit of power base decreases a character's loyalty by 0.55, making power base one of the most important factors decreasing character loyalty, and if the proportion of disloyal power base is higher than the civil war threshold, the country will progress towards a civil war. In republics, a character's power base is also the base from which senatorial influence is calculated. Generally, a close eye should always be kept on characters with a high power base, keeping them as loyal as is feasible (or at least above the disloyalty threshold with some buffer to spare) while being sure not to give them any positions that would result in even higher power base (as that can bring the loyalty penalty from high power base up to unmanageable levels).
The main sources of power base are:
- +2 from all positions (including rulers, co-rulers, consorts, primary heirs, offices, researchers, governors, generals, admirals, and party leaders)
- +1.2 to heads of family for each percentage of the total family prestige in the country their family has
- +0.2 to the ruler for each percentage of the country's population in the capital region
- +0.7 to governors for each percentage of the country's population in their governorship
- +0.3 to commanders for each percentage of the country's army under their command, not including any cohorts loyal to the commander, up to a maximum of +1.2 per commanded cohort (applies for both legion legates and governors with levies raised)
- +1 to for each percentage of the country's army that are cohorts loyal to the character, even if under the command of another character (does not apply for the cohorts loyal to the ruler), up to a maximum of +4 per loyal cohort
- +0.05 for the character's number of loyal veteran cohorts as a percentage of the country's army size, up to a maximum of +0.2 per loyal veteran cohort
- +0.1 for each percentage of the country's ships commanded by an admiral, up to a maximum of +1 per commanded ship
- +0.5 for each percentage of the country's territories held as holdings, up to a maximum of +10 per holding
- Main article: Trait
Traits represent different facets of a character's personality, lifestyle, abilities, conditions, and more, and have a significant effect on a character's attributes and ability to perform in positions, as well as affecting how they respond to events (particularly for the AI).
Most traits have base effects on character attributes and stats that are always active, but some also give modifiers that are only active when the character holds a position like being the ruler or a commander. These position-specific modifiers affect the target of the position - the army or navy for commanders and admirals, the region for governors, and the entire country for rulers.
Traits can be categorized into one of four categories:
Some traits, particularly personality traits, have opposites that they are mutually exclusive with. A character will never have two traits that are opposite with each other at the same time; if a character gets a new trait whose opposite it currently has, the opposite trait will be immediately removed.
- Main article: Scheme
Every character has an ongoing scheme, or ambition, at any time that represents their current objectives and activities apart from any currently held positions. These schemes vary widely, from learning and growing up or investing in existing holdings to increasing political influence and plotting against other characters. Schemes are generally the main mechanic by which non-ruler characters have agency and interact with other characters and their holdings. While the schemes of most characters are fairly unimportant and can for the most part be ignored, some, particularly those of powerful characters or those otherwise important to the ruler, can matter significantly, whether positively or negatively. Most schemes can be stopped by using the Persuade to Drop Scheme interaction, which costs 10 political influence.
- Main article: Character interaction
Most actions on characters can be performed through character interactions, available either on the right of the character screen or by right clicking the character's portrait. In a republic, many of these interactions will require Senate approval.
- There is a Character Finder mod that does all the searching for you. Not compatible with ironman.