We’ve finally been graced with the first piece of DLC for Crusader Kings 3. Northern Lords is a Norse-themed DLC that adds new events and mechanics to dynasties in Northern Europe. Paradox is calling these ‘Flavor Packs’ as opposed to full expansions, similar to the Immersion Packs they released for England, Russia, and Iberia in Europa Universalis IV. This means the changes hone in on a specific part of the world rather than mixing up the pot for everyone. It’s pretty small in scope overall, but there’s a decent amount here for only $7/£5.19.
Flavour packs are described by Paradox as being smaller than a full expansion. Here, the Northern Lords DLC adds various forms of Norse spice to the already meaty strategy game. That includes dressing your leaders up in Viking hairstyles and tunics, new events inspired by Norse history, the ability to go adventuring and establish new kingdoms in foreign lands, and new music.
There’s a lot of new stuff you can do in Northern Lords. If you want a list, you can find a wealth of information in Paradox’s CK3 dev diaries. But the thing I want to frame my opinion with, since it’s the single thing that most attracted me to the DLC, is the Varangian Adventure. This decision allows any Norse ruler – in theory – to declare a war with a special cassus belli, and comes free with a special army of howling beardsman, to help you get the job done. Upon the successful prosecution of such a war, your player nation moves to the site of the conquered foe, and your former lands are abandoned to a bunch of rando brute nobodies, cooked up by the game.
In tandem Paradox is patching the core Crusader Kings 3 experience to allow duels via a martial perk, or to let characters become poets, since this was especially important to the Norse (think eddas and sagas.) Gamers can download the 1.3 patch for free. Crusader Kings 3: Northern Lords, however, is $6.99 DLC on top of the base game, whether bought through Steam, the Paradox Store, or the Microsoft Store. Newcomers wanting to go all-in can get the $74.99 Royal Edition bundle, which includes all current and planned expansions.
If you like playing Norse rulers, there’s a lot here to love. I haven’t even scratched the surface of the dozens of new events yet in the 20-ish hours I’ve played so far. If that’s not really your thing, there isn’t much reason to pick it up. But that’s the great thing about flavor packs, and I really like that Paradox is doing DLC this way now. There will be bigger expansions that add stuff for everyone, but you won’t need to worry about playing an incomplete version of the game just because you’re missing a flavor pack for a culture or region you’re not interested in. And the price seems pretty reasonable for what you’re getting, too, at less than half what some of the bigger Paradox DLCs cost.
Crusader Kings 3: Northern Lords will cost you £5.19/€7/$7 from Steam or the Paradox store.
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