The Vassal system is a gameplay mechanic in Total War series. Vassals are factions that are under the protection of other factions. In exchange for this protection, they cede military access and a portion of their income.

Empire: Total WarEdit

In Empire: Total War, a similar system to vassalage exists in the form of the Protectorate system.

Napoleon: Total WarEdit

In Napoleon: Total War, the protectorate system functions similarly to its Empire: Total War incarnation, with a few minor differences.

Total War: Shogun 2Edit

In Total War: Shogun 2, vassals make their formal debut. Factions may offer other factions to become their vassal. This can either be done as part of a regular agreement, or chosen by a weakened faction that would submit rather than face destruction. Making vassals can be a useful endeavor: the player gains a new unit or two (usually yari ashigaru, vassals are guaranteed trade partners unless a trade route cannot be established in the first place, and vassals give a portion of their income to their patron clan. Finally, each vassal a clan acquires gives their lord +1 honor, for a total of up to +3. Acquiring vassals is one of the fastest and easiest ways to gain honor, and the honor bonus is retained even if the vassal is destroyed.

A few factions start the campaign with a vassal. The Uesugi Clan, for example, have the Yamanouchi Clan as their vassal. The Tokugawa Clan have the unfortunate distinction of being the only playable clan that is the vassal of another clan (in this case, the Imagawa Clan). 

Should a faction with a vassal (or more) become a vassal to another faction, all of its vassals become vassals to the new faction, and the new protector faction gains the corresponding honor boost for all vassals.

Whereas protectorates from previous games are highly unlikely to declare war on the player, the diplomatic A.I is far more fickle in Shogun 2, and vassals may choose to betray their patrons after a period of time--particularly if they became vassals due to subjugation by their patron clan.

All vassals eventually betray the player if the player triggers realm divide; however, clans that are made vassals after realm divide usually stay loyal.

Fall of the SamuraiEdit

Vassals behave identically to their Total War: Shogun 2 version, with a few exceptions. All vassals change their clan allegiance to match their patron clan's, and all vassals remain loyal after realm divide if the player does not pursue independence. Independent factions, however, can never retain vassals for more than one turn as vassals are hard-coded to betray the player if the player is independent.

Total War: Three KingdomsEdit

Main article: Vassal (Total War: Three Kingdoms)

Vassal is a gameplay mechanic in Total War: Three Kingdoms. Vassal mechanics returns in Three Kingdoms and have expanded significantly. The relationship between a Vassal State and its Lord is now multidimensional, offering many new benefits for both owning vassals and becoming one. There's also a burden of responsibility, and a healthy dose of relationship management for a vassal lord to attend to.[1]

Total War THREE KINGDOMS gameplay mechanics
Characters AncillaryAttributesBackgroundGuanxiPrestige (Faction Rank)・LegendaryPersonalityResilienceSatisfaction (Title Rank)・SKillSpecialisationTraitsUniqueWu Xing
Campaign AssignmentBuildingsCourt (AdministratorCouncilFamily Tree)・Diplomacy (CoalitionVassal)・Event (Initial Dilemma)・Factions (LeaderHeirPrime Minister)・Mission (Challenge)・RecordsReformsResourcesSeasonsTreasuryUndercover Network
Battle Ability (Unit Ability)・ArmyDuelingFormationFortificationMoraleTerrainSiege (Siege Escalation)・Unit (Hero UnitRetinue)・Weather
Miscellaneous AdvisorDLCsLocations (CommanderyCountySettlement)・Timeline


  1. Diplomacy in Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – Part 1
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