Unrest is generated through unhappy pops, low stability in your country, war-exhaustion, governors' policies and corruption. It can also be reduced by various laws, positive stability, and assigning armies to the local governor.
The happiness of a pop depends on its culture and its religion, as compared to the country’s state religion and culture. Different pop-types also want different civilization levels to be happy: while tribesmen want it as low as possible, citizens want it at a rather high level. Different laws make different pop types more or less happy as well. Access to different goods in the city will also make pops happier.
If a pop has less than 50% happiness, they will contribute to the unrest of the province.
Governor's local troops
An army without a general can be assigned to a regional governor. Once assigned, the army cannot leave the region until detached again, but it can freely move within the region. It can even fight in a war and occupy enemy land inside the geographical region, with governor simultaneously acting as an unpaid general for all his armies. Unlike with generals, there is no cooldown on assigning and detaching an army to a region.
Each full cohort of the assigned army suppresses -1 unrest in each city per 25 province pops (see game file references to AREA_TROOPS_POP_COUNT). Suppression is capped at -4 unrest.
Cohorts lacking manpower count proportionally.
Neither cohort's morale (maintenance), nor governor's attributes impact the suppression.
Since provinces in the same region will usually have different population densities, unrest suppression in each province will also be different. For example, a 4-cohort army assigned to a region with a 25-pop province and a 100-pop province will suppress 4 unrest in every city of the first province and 1 unrest in every city of the second province.
Each point of unrest applies the following modifiers:
- −2% Local tax
- −2% Commerce income
- −2% Research points
- −2% Local manpower
- −0.1 City provincial loyalty
Once the city's unrest reaches 10, some actions are unavailable:
- Regiments recruitment
- Buildings construction
- Pop manual interaction
If the unrest is brought below 10, these actions become available once again.
There are three types of loyalty:
Each province have a loyalty value to the country. If it goes down to 0, then that province is basically 100% autonomous and provides nothing to you. They will cancel all trade to other parts of your country and every city will be acting as if it had at least 10 unrest.
If enough provinces are disloyal, they will start an independence war if the dominant culture is not your primary culture-group, or a civil war if they are of your culture-group.
There are alerts if your provinces are disloyal, or if you risk a civil war or major revolt. Monarchs may also use the Anabasis action while in command of an army at a provincial capital to increase province loyalty.
Each cohort in an army can become loyal to a single person. This depends on the charisma of the commander during a battle or a siege.
When a cohort is loyal to a character, the country pays less maintenance for it, as the commander of the unit it is loyal to starts paying the unit him or herself.
There is a slight drawback or two to having cohorts loyal to a character instead of the country. For example, a cohort that is personally loyal to a character will not allow it to be transferred away from the unit in any way. Also, a character with cohorts loyal to him tend to become more disloyal over time.
Characters' loyalty to the country is one of the more interesting aspects to manage, as disloyal characters are a huge risk, refusing to abandon their armies or provinces. If enough characters are disloyal, they will form a bloc to launch a civil war.
Some forms of government, a few inventions and some ideas increase loyalty of all characters. Giving people titles and offices will increase their loyalty, but removing them decrease their loyalty. Characters of the same faction as the ruler tends to become more loyal over time, while friends and rivals of the ruler will see their loyalty go up and down as well.
When the loyalty of a character is below 33%, that character is considered disloyal.
While a major revolt is not very different from having a large nation revolt in other Paradox games, civil wars are dramatically different. A particularly weak or tyrannical ruler can see a significant portion of their characters, armies, and provinces revolt against in them in the name of overthrowing the government.
The countdown to a civil war will begin when the power base of all disloyal characters as a share of the country's total power base is greater than the state's current Civil War Threshold. The base threshold is 25%, which is decreased by tyranny and higher country rank. Larger nations therefore tend to be more prone to civil wars, as they have more powerful characters to handle and need a smaller proportion of them to be disloyal before a civil war can break out. This timer ticks up every month, and if the situation is not brought under control, the civil war will break out after 40 months. During this time, there will be an alert notifying the player that attention should be given to the loyalty of powerful characters immediately. Of course, there are also alerts as soon as a single province or a general is disloyal.
When the civil war begins, a new dynamic tag is created with all disloyal characters (with their commanded armies) and provinces joining it, and possibly friends and families as well. The civil war revolter will start new wars with any nation that the parent country was already at war with. Civil war tags can be recognized by their name, which will always be the adjective of their parent nation followed by "Revolt". The flag will normally be randomly generated, but a few major states have pre-scripted flags for their civil war revolters that reflect an inversion of their normal flags:
A civil war is a war-to-the-death, where provinces automatically switch owners when they are occupied, and losing a civil war is considered a game over like any other annexation. Peace deals cannot be made during civil wars; the only way to end them is to completely destroy the other side. Civil wars are a huge drain on time and resources and should generally be avoided at all costs; equally, a period of civil war is a great time to strike at a now-weakened rival or even a significantly larger power that under normal circumstances would be far too strong to take on.
- Consolidate the capital region first: Since the capital region is less prone to rebellion compared to other regions, fully occupying the region helps the ruler with their power base. Conversely, expanding in other regions empowers the regional governor first, before the ruler.
- Track the holdings held by family heads: A crucial source of power base for family heads is their holdings, especially if their holdings have many pops. Consider rewarding the family head with a holding with few pops after revoking one with many.