Religion represents the belief systems of the ancient world, usually polytheistic and encompassing a wide range of gods, and important to everything, from daily life to the highest political echelons. In the game, every state, character, and pop belongs to a particular religion, with their interactions playing a significant role in loyalty and pop happiness. The choice of pantheon gods and omens in the state religion forms an important part of the modifiers and bonuses that a country has, and is the one of the main interactions that a player will have with religion, with the systems of holy sites and sacred treasures providing more auxiliary goals and flavour.
Every country starts with a predefined state religion, which can be viewed just above the pantheon deities in the Religion tab. Every religion has bonuses that are applied to the entire country, and also determines the base deities that are always available regardless of the population or holy sites of the country. State religion also has a small effect on diplomacy—countries of the same religion get a +10 opinion bonus with each other. There is no malus for having a different state religion.
There is no default happiness bonus or penalty for pop religion, but pops will receive a +5% happiness bonus for each deity in the state pantheon that matches their religion, making it useful for polytheistic states to take on pantheon gods of religions that are widespread inside their country. In every territory, a single pop can undergo conversion to the state religion at a time, as long as there are any pops in that territory to convert. The speed of conversion is influenced by many factors, particularly unrest and the dominant province culture and religion being different from the state culture and religion. It is possible for conversion to be completely stalled. Outside of events, pops will always convert to the state religion. The percentage of pops following the state religion is the nation's Religious Unity value, which is a major component of Omen Power.
- Main article: Decisions#Religious Conversion decisions
The state religion can be changed by decision, if at least 50% of the non-slave pops in the capital, as well as the High Priest, follow the new religion that the country is converting to. Switching religions can only be done once every 10 years and costs 200 political influence and 30 stability, also giving a temporary drop of −15 Loyalty for all characters that are followers of the old faith.
Each character also has their own character religion, usually but not always the same as that of the state. Characters that do not follow the state religion have a −10 maximum loyalty modifier and will never use the Religious Conversion governor policy by default. Pops also have a -5% happiness penalty if the governor of their region is not of their religion.
Characters can be forced to convert if their loyalty is at least 60, at the cost of +5.00 Tyranny and a temporary drop of −30 Loyalty. There are also a few events by which a character's religion can otherwise be changed—governors may switch to the religion of the regional capital if the Religious Conversion policy is not being used, office holders may take on the religion of the state that employs them, the heir of a monarchy may switch to the religion of the Royal Tutor, and rulers may get an event to switch to the state religion if they do not follow it.
Every nation has a state pantheon consisting of four deities (or prophets/yazatas/paradigms, depending on religion), one for each category: War, Culture, Economy, and Fertility. Every nation can select from a fixed list of their religion's deities to fill those slots. Polytheistic nations can additionally select from other polytheistic deities if they own that deity's holy site, or a high enough percentage of their pops follows a given religion. The percentage required depends on the deity's rarity: Very Common deities require 5% of the nation's total pops to follow the deity's religion, Common deities require 10%, Rare deities require 20%, and Very Rare deities require 40%.
Every deity that is not part of the state religion gives a stacking −20% conversion speed malus for all pops in the nation (regardless of whether or not their gods are currently represented in the pantheon).
Each deity offers a fixed passive bonus, which is in effect as long as that deity is part of the pantheon. Additionally, every 5 years (adjusted by Omen Duration) one can invoke an omen for a single of the pantheon's deities, conferring an additional bonus. Deities whose omens are currently being invoked cannot be replaced. The omen's effects are multiplied by the nation's current Omen Power, with the base effects being reached at 100% Omen Power.
Switching a deity in the pantheon costs a base of −15 Stability and prevents that deity's omen from being invoked for three years. The stability penalty is temporarily reduced by -75% for 10 years after converting to another religion.
Each deity and its requirements and bonuses are listed on the page of the religion it belongs to.
|Government||Theocratic Monarchy government form||+15%|
|Imperial Cult government form||+15%|
|Theocratic Republic government form||+15%|
|Religious Faction in power (Republic)||+10%|
|Religion||Religious Unity||+1% per point|
|Military Traditions||Pietas (Italic Traditions)||+15%|
|Offices||High Priest (Monarchy)||+3% per Statesmanship-adjusted Zeal|
|Augur (Republic)||+3% per Statesmanship-adjusted Zeal|
|High Priest (Tribal)||+3% per Statesmanship-adjusted Zeal|
|Laws||Priestly Status (Republic)||+15%|
|Lex Ogulnia (Roman)||+15%|
|Adopt Human Sacrifices (Tribal)||+10%|
|Technology level||Religious Advances||+2.5% per level|
|Inventions||Hierarchical Haruspication (Religious Advances 0)||+5%|
|Reinterpreted Prodigies (Religious Advances 11)||+5%|
|War Dedication (Religious Advances 12)||+5%|
|Proscribed Canon (Religious Advances 15)||+5%|
|Trade goods||Incense (export)||+5%|
- See also: Treasure
A holy site is a temple, sanctuary, or other sacred site that is particularly important to the worship of a specific deity. Each deity can have a single holy site somewhere in the world, and owning a deity's holy site while having it in your pantheon increases the potency of both their passive and omen effects by +25%. There are a number of holy sites present at the start of the game, and a new one can be consecrated for a pantheon deity in an owned territory at a cost of −400 Gold and −100 Political Influence.
Holy sites confer the following modifiers to the territory they are located in, regardless of its size, status, and whether or not it is dedicated to a deity that is in the state religion or pantheon:
Holy sites can hold sacred treasures, which confer bonuses to the entire province the holy site is located in; it is therefore useful to bring as many sacred treasures as possible to the capital province in order to maximize the effects of their bonuses. Any treasure can be placed in any holy site regardless of its religion, but the amount of sacred treasures a holy site can hold depends on the status of its territory: one for settlements, two for cities, and three for metropolises. There is a fixed amount of sacred treasures in the world, with new ones only being created as a result of certain missions and events. Sacred treasures can be removed from an owned holy site whose deity is part of your pantheon at the cost of +1.00 Aggressive Expansion.
Unplaced sacred treasures are held in the nation's reliquary and confer no benefits, but cannot be taken through desecration. Upon annexation by conquest, up to 2 treasures in the nation's reliquary will be spirited away to another country within diplomatic range if any exist, and all the rest will be taken by the conqueror. Diplomatic annexation, however, will transfer all reliquary treasures to the overlord.
Desecrating a holy site can be done at any time through the Religion menu if it is owned, or by using the Desecrate Holy Sites army interaction on an army located in the holy site's territory if it is controlled, even if the territory currently belongs to another nation. Desecrating a holy site destroys it and deposits all of its sacred treasures in the desecrating nation's reliquary. Doing it via the army interaction costs +2.00 Aggressive Expansion. Every nation that follows the religion of the holy site's deity will receive an event and might lose opinion of the desecrating country.
Apotheosis, or deification, is the process of deifying a past or present ruler of the country. A deified ruler inherits the effects of an existing pantheon deity, which they must be based on, but confer an additional benefit when their omen is invoked, the potency of which is sometimes affected by their attributes.
Monotheistic religions, such as Judaism, have pantheons consisting entirely of "deified" characters (sometimes known as prophets), and are unable to deify more. As a counterbalance to the early access to apotheosis bonuses, they can only invoke omens once every seven and a half years. All republics except for Theocratic Republics, Athenian Republics, and Dictatorships, are also unable to deify rulers.
A number of deified characters exist in the game at the start: the Jewish prophets, Hellenic Alexander the Great, Zoroastrian Zoroaster, Buddhist Siddhartha, and Jain Mahavira. Only owners of the Magna Graecia content pack can deify new ones. Deification costs a base of −200 Political Influence, which can be decreased by several inventions, and increases based on the number of deified rulers currently in the pantheon. It also requires the current ruler to have at least 90 Popularity, and the current ruler's family to have at least 800 Prestige.
Every defied ruler in a nation's pantheon gives the following modifiers, stackable up to the four possible deities in the pantheon:
- +0.01 Monthly Tyranny
- +0.02 Monthly Ruler Popularity Gain
- +15% Pop Conversion Speed
- +25% Cost to Deify Ruler
As a separate god, deified rulers are not affected by the holy sites of their parent deity and may have their own holy sites created in a province. If a deified ruler is not part of any country's pantheon for more than 20 years, their cult will be forgotten, and the deity, including any holy sites, will no longer be available.
List of religions
|Hellenic||+10% National citizen happiness||Having spread from the Greek heartland, the Olympian pantheon is venerated by many. The names, aspects and hierarchy of many of the gods can vary widely from region to region, however, Zeus, or Jupiter as he is known to the Romans, is regarded as the figurehead of the Olympian pantheon.||roman_pantheon|
|Kemetic||+0.10 Monthly ruler popularity gain||The history of the indigenous Egyptian religion stretches back many thousands of years. Manifesting as a polytheistic faith, the worship of Ra, Atum, Sekhmet and others, displays a deep reverence for the fundamental aspects of the natural world.||egyptian_pantheon|
|Canaanite||−10% Navy maintenance cost||The Canaanite religion venerates a number of Gods and their aspects, in a polytheistic manner. Baal is regarded as the chief deity in a complex hierarchy of lesser gods, which were often worshipped at shrines found on mountains or hilltops. At the start of the game the Canaanite religion is primarily found in Phoenicia and Phoenician colonies, such as Carthage.||carthaginian_pantheon|
|Zalmoxian||+5% National tribesman output||Whether Zalmoxis was originally a prophet or a god, is unknown. The Dacians and Getae however, revere Zalmoxis as a divine being, ascribing many miraculous acts to him.||shamanism|
|Armazic||+10% Fort defense||Possibly connected to the nearby Anatolian religions, the pantheon of the Caucasian-Iberia region was ruled over by the god Armaz.||caucasian_religion|
|Chaldean||+0.01% Monthly civilization value||The history of the Chaldean pantheon stretches back many thousands of years. Worshipping gods such as Anu, Enki and Nanna, the devotees of the Chaldean religion construct imposing temples in honor of their chosen God.||mesopotamian_religion|
|Khaldic||+10% National freeman output||The Khaldic pantheon represents a religion which grew out of the Urartian culture, many centuries before. A principally polytheistic faith, the chief god was known as Khaldi, and was worshipped as a warrior god.||armenian_religion|
|Cybelene||+5% Wrong culture happiness||The Phrygian cult of Cybele is linked to prehistoric Mother-Goddess worship. Evolving over thousands of years, the cult of Cybele often claimed relationship to mythical figures and heroes, and practiced their religion with the veneration of idols.||anatolian_religion|
|Druidic||+5% State religion happiness||Druids acted for the Celts, as a distinct social class. Often acting as magistrates and lawmakers, they also dictated local religious customs and beliefs. Druidic faiths are primarily found in Iberia, Gaul and the British Isles at the start of the game.||druidism|
|Iberic||+10% Import value||Essentially a hybrid polytheistic religion, Iberian religious practices involve the veneration of animal spirits, as well as ancestor worship. Various Hellenic and Phoenician gods were worshipped by the Iberians, as well as local deities such as Betatun or Ataecina.||animism|
|Jewish||Unusually amongst contemporary faiths, Judaism is a monotheistic religion. Following a series of prophets and teachers, the Jewish holy book, the Torah, contains the details of a covenant created between God and the children of Israel.||judaism|
|Zoroastrian||−5% Army maintenance cost||The prophet Zoroaster taught of a faith in the Creator-God Ahuramazda. Evolving out of early Indo-Iranian polytheism, great reverence is shown for the 'eternal law', or, Daena, which espouses good and righteous conduct.||zoroaster|
|Megalithic||+5% State religion happiness||The ancient culture and religion was a melting pot of traditional egyptian beliefs, star-worship, and ancestor veneration. Many megaliths - stone constructs raised in honor of the gods - still exist, dotted about the African landscape.||berber_religion|
|Tuistic||−10% Migration cost||The ancient Germanic god for Tius, Teiws, or Tuisto, was worshipped by the early migratory tribes from modern-day Scandinavia. Many accounts suggest that the Germanic people practiced a largely animist religion, venerating the earth and sky, and the life force of all living things.||germanic_religion|
|Heptadic||+5% Monthly military experience||Originating in Scythian lands, this pantheistic faith worshipped seven principal gods, often equated to those of the Greek pantheon. Elements of the earlier polytheistic folk religion of the scythians still remains, as does the practice of horse sacrifice and chariot burials, similar to those of the Celts.||indo_iranian_religion|
|Arabic||+10% National tribesman happiness||Religion in Arabia was a polytheistic mixture of deities, aspects and demons, practiced in localities and enclaves around the region. Allah, the Creator-God, may have been worshipped as the head of the pantheon during this period, in some locations.||arabian_pantheon|
|Buddhist||+30% Pop conversion speed||A relatively young religion, Buddhism arose in Northern India, following the life of Siddhartha Gautama, or simply, Buddha. The Buddha was an ascetic teacher, who spoke of the Middle Way, throughout India.||buddhism|
|Hindu||+1 Diplomatic reputation||Hinduism evolved out of the Vedic period, shepherded by the creation of the Upanishads, and was widely followed throughout India during early antiquity.||hindu|
|Ritualistic||+1 Diplomatic relations||Representing a variety of localized faiths and folk religions, Ritualism espouses ancestor-worship, animism, and votive offerings||eastern_animism|
|Bon||−10% Build cost||Bon represents a collection of folk religions originally practiced on the Tibetan plateau. Aspects of ancestor worship and animism appear frequently, as well as nascent polytheism.||bon_religion|
|Matrist||+5% Manpower recovery speed||Little is known of the Baltic tribes and their religion. Nonetheless, records survive, telling of cults worshipping a mother goddess, along the baltic coast.||matrist_religion|
|Jain||+25% Promotion speed||Jainism is an Indian faith that spans back many years, to the early teachers of the religion. The Jains strongly believe in asceticism and non-violence, and have friendly relations with the other Indian traditions.||jainism|