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You can become a theocracy by going through your reforms in the government tab. The option becomes available at the highest reform tier, depending on your government type:
- Tier 7 for monarchies
- Tier 10 for republics
- Tier 5 for tribes
Most nations start with tier 1 unlocked. To get the next reform, you must spend 50 reform progress points multiplied by the target tier level. For example, tier 2 needs 100 points, tier 3 needs 150, and tier 4 needs 200.
You normally gain 10 reform progress points per year (or 0.83 per month), so each reform tier will take at least 10 in-game years. Tribes have it harder with 6 points annually.
If you consider each tier level, it can take approximately 175 years for a monarchy to reach tier 7 and reform into a theocracy.
That is, if all things remain equal. There are ways to make this quicker.
Method 1: The Mathematical Theory
Increasing Your Reform Progress Growth
Government reform progress grows according to this formula:
Yearly reform progress = 10 × (100% – average autonomy level) × (100% + reform progress growth modifiers)
You’ll want all of your provinces to have zero autonomy to maximize your reform progress growth.
You can do this by:
- Turning newly conquered territories into states
- Enacting the “Centralization Effort” edict in the state interface for the -0.03 monthly autonomy change
- Using the decrease autonomy button in the province interface for an immediate -25 reduction
TIP: Always be on top of any imminent rebellions. Rebels will add 5 to 20 autonomy to any successfully occupied province that is not within a fort’s zone of control.
On the other side of the equation, you should stack as many reform progress growth modifiers as you can.
Two major modifiers are exclusive to specific government types:
|Republic||0 – 100%||Amount scales with the republican tradition value|
|Native Council Tribe||25%||“Oral Tradition” tier 2 tribal reform|
Certain nations can get a modifier from their national idea or their mission tree:
|Dalmatia, Dortmund, Goslar, Iceland, Marathas||15%||National Idea|
|Franconia, Ansbach, Bayreuth||10%||“Grandeur Sans Pareil” Mission|
There are also four great projects that you definitely should own and upgrade ASAP.
|Doge’s Palace||Venezia, Italy||–||10%||20%||30%|
|Royal Palace of Caserta||Napoli, Italy||–||5%||10%||15%|
|Machu Picchu||Abancay, Peru||Must have accepted any Andean culture||–||10%||10%|
|The White House||Piscataway, Northeast America||Only active for the United States||5%||10%||20%|
To get these great projects, you simply have to annex the province that they’re in.
You’ll need to upgrade them to activate their bonuses.
|Monument level||Ducats needed to start upgrades||Years to complete upgrades|
You can repeatedly spend an additional 250 ducats or 10,000 manpower to speed up the upgrade process by 2 years.
Benefitting From Your Idea Groups
Certain idea groups come with a set of events that can sometimes give you 15 reform progress points.
Each active idea group will trigger one event every five years, but they will be randomly selected from their set. There is no guarantee you will always get the right event, so you can consider this as a supplementary tactic.
The idea groups are:
|Idea Group||Name of Event/s|
|Innovative||Burst of Administrative Thought|
|Administrative||Centralization Yields Benefits, Good Advice|
|Humanist||Freethinkers Not Persecuted, Cabinet Cooperation|
Note: You only need to have these idea groups enabled. It’s not necessary to spend monarch points on the ideas themselves.
You’ll also need zero corruption to get the 15 reform progress points; otherwise, the events will reduce your corruption by 1 instead of giving you the points.
Innovative, Administrative, and Humanist are admin-type ideas. Plutocratic is a military type and is only available for republics.
It’s recommended that you invest monarch points in the Administrative ideas if you plan on taking the two Italian great projects mentioned above. Provinces in Italy are highly developed and need a lot of admin mana to turn into cores.
Method 2: The Shortcut to Sanctity
Crossing the Himalayas
If you don’t have the patience for the previous method, you can bypass all that mathematical headache by disappearing into the Himalayas.
The formable nation of Tibet can get an event that lets you become a theocracy right then and there.
Forming Tibet has these requirements:
- Tibetan as a primary culture
- Vajrayana as the state religion
- Has never been an end-game tag (i.e., Commonwealth, Byzantium, Ottomans, etc.)
- Owns and has cores in the provinces of Lhasa, Garze, and Tachienlu
If you are playing as Guge, Tsang, U, or Kham, then you’ve already met the culture and religion requirements. Kham also only lacks Lhasa from the list.
If not, culture-shifting to Tibetan and converting to Vajrayana are relatively easy. You may have to “snake” your way to the Tibet region if you didn’t start near the area.
Once you have united Tibet, follow your new Tibetan mission tree and focus on the “Support the Gelug School” mission.
Its conditions are:
- Build 5 temples
- Raise your clergy estate’s loyalty and influence to at least 60
- Have the entire region of Tibet follow the Vajrayana religion
Completing this will trigger the “Dalai Lama takes control” event, which gives you the option to become a theocracy.