Community Announcements - BjornB

Hello all, it’s time for another DD about ZombieInvasion <Secret DLC*>! Today we’ll take a look at what we’ve done to the Maimed trait. Well, we’ve removed it! People without <Secret DLC> can still be Maimed, of course, but the lucky owners of <Secret DLC> will instead receive more specific injuries, such as: One-handed, One-legged, One-Eyed, Disfigured, or Mangled (this represents severe trauma to the torso, mostly). As well as allowing more specific wounds and flavor, this has allowed us to remove the Health penalty from most of these traits (Mangled still has one though). Instead, when you receive a maiming-type injury you will also receive the Severely Injured trait, which has some health and stat penalties, but will be lost after some time has passed. Afterall, while losing a hand is certainly not an enjoyable process, you do eventually heal up and can be perfectly healthy besides the missing appendage. Also, if anyone is feeling creative, please suggest interesting effects for these new traits - we do of course have some penalties on them, but I worry they are a little dull, so fire away and I may shamelessly steal your ideas.

Since both One-eyed and Disfigured affect the faces of characters, we have added a lot of new portrait props to reflect this. Here is a small sample of what you might see ingame:

We have also added several events relating to life with missing body parts:

a disfigured ruler holds a masquerade ball

the loss of a hand is a severe blow to a famous warrior

That’s all for now, next week I am not certain which DD we will show, either I will talk about some extra Pagan features we’ve added, or Doomdark will give you some of his thoughts about CK2. It will be a surprize!

*= DLC contains no zombies

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Community Announcements - BjornB

Hello all, once again I am here to tell you about the horrors wonders of <Secret DLC>! Today the subject is our new narrative events. We have added two new chains of events, the first being the titular End of Days chain(s).

The concept behind the EoD events are that your people have become scared and uncertain and this has given rise to various doomsayers and general unrest. Possible results of this include:

  • The rise of a Prophet of Doom, who is convinced the world will end if he doesn’t overthrow your rule.
  • A general belief that the dead have returned to walk the earth and attack the living.
  • Panic based on a solar eclipse, which is surely the herald of the End Times.

These events are somewhat rare, and each possible doom has several ways to resolve it, for better or for worse, so we hope you will find them rather interesting should they appear.

The other chain we have added is The quest for Eternal Life. Much as I encouraged you to do in an earlier DD, characters in CK may find themselves contemplating their mortality, and as rulers of realms they have rather more resources available to them than you or I. The quest for Eternal Life is long, dangerous, and prone to failure, but when the possible reward is the ability to defy Death… well, you can see why people may undertake it anyway.

That’s all for now, next week I will go into detail about our new Maimed traits.

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Community Announcements - BjornB

Hello again. Last week I told you about the horrors of the Plague and your inevitable death, but so you don’t fall into total despair I’ll tell you some steps you can take to delay giving the Reaper his due.

The first and most immediate defense against Epidemics is to go into Seclusion. This is somewhat similar to going into Hiding, but in this case you Seclude your entire court in your castle (or capital holding of your choice). Seclusion is a very effective way to stop disease getting into your castle… provided, of course, that you don’t bring in anyone who is already infected. While in Seclusion there are unique events which deal with such things as; interpersonal conflict or bonding, angry people outside who want in, food shortages, murder, and maybe even a little cannibalism. Only a little! Happy DD, happy DD…

Another, longer term defense is to build Hospitals. Hospitals are a new holding type, built in the same way as Trade posts or Forts. Their primary effect is to make the chance of an Epidemic breaking out or spreading to the province less likely. Hospitals can have several buildings built within them, which mostly serve to increase the Disease Defense level, but Leper Colonies can also lower revolt risk.

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Community Announcements - BjornB

Hello and welcome to another Developer Diary about getting sick and dying! Previously I talked about this in the personal sense, but today I will tell you what we have done to Epidemics.

In our upcoming but still unannounced DLC, we have added many more scriptable values to Epidemic diseases which allows us to do many more interesting things with them. I’ll skip the technical details here, but Epidemics can now spread along the Silk road when present, and are more likely to spread to rich and coastal provinces while being less likely to spread to poorer inland areas. Different Epidemics can have different speeds and likelihoods of spreading, as well as different maximum provinces they can spread to and durations to last for.

Epidemics also have another effect now, they can cause Depopulation in a province. Depopulation is a modifier on the province which reduces tax incomes, levy/garrison sizes, and supply limits. Different diseases have different chances of causing Depopulation, and the effects can remain long after the diseases have died out.

Of course, I can’t talk about Epidemics without mentioning The Black Death, since it was a somewhat notable event in the CK2 period. In the past, the Plague hasn’t been too impressive, but now… well now we have made some changes:

while it's possible for the Plague to come from central asia and bypass India, in this instance it arrived in the North-east of the subcontinent and spread throughout it and outwards. Meanwhile, England has Smallpox.

As well as making The Black Death larger and more deadly, we felt it was a shame you’d have to play until 1300 to experience it. So, in our generosity we made The Black Death more dynamic and there is now a chance for a major outbreak to occur 200 years into any game, regardless of startpoint (and the 1300 outbreak of course remains possible too). After a major outbreak has happened the disease becomes endemic and may break out again, but likely on a smaller scale. I should note that the dynamic Plague is a Game Rule, so if you want to restrict the first outbreak to 1300+ it’s still possible.

Is it all doom and gloom in this DLC? Well no, not entirely. As I mentioned previously, Court Physicians will try to treat your illnesses, and you will also be able to build Hospitals, and/or go into Seclusion to attempt to avoid infection - but those are topics for a future DD. Until then, contemplate your mortality.

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Community Announcements - BjornB


It is my turn to write a DD for CK2 and it is about something that perhaps we don’t mention that often: Audio.

Or more specific for this entry; Death Screams & SFX.

For the new expansion I got an important task, it was to create new sound effects for executing characters and also create assets for other ways different characters can die in the game such as falling off a balcony or being mauled by a bear.

So basically for this task I did a bunch of research to see how cruel people were back in the days and how “creative” they could be when executing people.

I needed to create a lot of “gore” sound effects so to achieve this I went out and did some grocery shopping.

The leek and celery were to recreate some “sweet” and intense bone cracking sound effects while the pepper and salad were to create a “slow crushing” sound effect.

The big problem for this task was a major one; Screams. And a lot of them.

So I took the opportunity to do some internal auditions and invited co-workers to the torture chamber aka sound studio.

Another challenge was to get people to sound like they are… dying? I got to do a lot of “dummy” recordings where you could hear me die in different ways, and some of these recordings made their way into the expansion as well, so my co-workers could get to “dub” me or have some kind of a reference.

I’ll not tell you who is dying, that is up to you to guess. \m/

Here we have a female version of being impaled:
Here is a version from the Spanish method of garroting:
There could be a few hunting accidents:
Or sometimes people went kind of extreme with burning people:
Few causes when people were thrown down into a nasty pit:

Or just want people to suffer really hard before dying:
A bonus video of our dear CEO trying out for a role:

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Graham Smith)

Total conversions are like mods, except so ambitious they never get released. Ho ho!> A little bit of 1999 mod community humour there. They’re also sometimes mods that completely change the face and function of game, bending its every part in service of some new purpose. That’s what Paradox want to support more of across all their games, and to that end they’ve released a 3D model exporting tool alongside a new developer diary discussing modding for their upcoming procedural space strategy game, Stellaris. It looks hot like that sun.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - BjornB

Well people, what do you know? I needed a break from the Stellaris crunch, so here’s an unscheduled dev diary! All the hubbub about Defensive Pacts and Shattered Retreats got me thinking about an old ambition I’ve had to improve the game set-up screens in order to allow players to customize their experience without having to resort to modding. The idea is inspired by games like Civilization and the Second Wave DLC for XCOM: Enemy Unknown, which allow players to change various advanced options and settings for a different experience in the game. I really like such options and typically make good use of them myself.

Now, of course there is such a thing as “the way the game was meant to be played”. That is, how the designers made the game and like to play it themselves. However, variety is the spice of life, and after 11 Crusader Kings II expansions things are not as clear-cut anymore. It’s actually pretty funny that I’ve been using a small personal mod for CK2 for awhile myself. There are some downsides to modding and using mods though:
  • It requires awareness that it’s possible, and where to find existing mods. The modding scene is a jungle.
  • It takes a modicum of extra effort and skill.
  • It might not feel quite legitimate (it can feel a bit like cheating) and you might not get any Achievements.
  • Mods typically do not have the same level of support as the base game. Many become fossilized or are otherwise problematic.
For these reasons especially, I think that adding a bunch of Paradox-approved, fully supported in-game rule variations is a good idea. Thus, when you start a new game, you are now presented with several interesting options. Most of them are simple flavor variations, but some are more fundamental and will disable Achievements in Ironman mode. Here’s the list of options we are currently showing in the new screen (still a work in progress though):
  • Sandbox vs Ironman
  • Shattered Retreats: On/Off
  • Defensive Pacts: On/Off
  • Gender Equality: Default/Historical/AllPlayers
  • Sunset Invasion: 13th Century/Random/Off
  • Mongol Invasion: Historical/Random/Off
  • Raiding: Historical/Unrestricted/None
  • Epidemics: Dynamic/Historical/Deadly
  • “Supernatural” Events: On/Off
  • Adventurers: Normal/Rare/None
  • Provincial Revolts: Normal/Rare/None
  • Regencies: On/Off
  • De Jure Drift: Default/Restricted/Off
  • Dynamic Kingdoms and Empires: On/Off
  • Diplomatic Range: On/Off

Our new rule system is itself fully moddable, so that modders can use the same system with pretty much any options they might want!

I look forward to your thoughts and comments. Are there any rule variations you think we’ve missed, or that you would really like to see?

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Community Announcements - BjornB

Hi again folks!

We are still discussing how to proceed with the dev diaries for CK2 and what we can and cannot talk about before the next expansion is actually announced. So, we shall see what next week will bring… One thing I can talk about though, is something that has been a bone of contention since the release of the the previous expansion, Conclave. I’m thinking of the “Call to Arms” mechanic that we cut from the game. As you know, since the Conclave update, allies are automatically dragged into wars and given no option to refuse. Now, I have explained why we did it and what we hoped this would achieve in another post, but the fact of the matter is, it was a poor decision. That’s why we are going to add the old system back, though with some adjustments… Declining a Call now has very serious consequences:
  • The Alliance and the Non-Aggression Pact are broken.
  • You lose half your current Prestige, plus 200 (same as truce breaking.)
  • Adds an “Alliance Breaker” Character modifier lasting 15 years that lowers the opinions of all vassals by -10 and all foreign rulers by -25.
  • You get a -50 opinion penalty with the calling ruler and his or her close family (including the spouse that allowed the alliance in the first place.)
The AI will basically never dishonor an alliance, but we will see what we can do about it stupidly over-committing troops (which has always been a problem, really.)

On a somewhat related note, we will also add an action to break a Non-Aggression Pact. It has similar effects to breaking an alliance, but slightly less severe. It also adds a one-year truce.

That’s about that… Now then, as some of you might know, these days we actually have a dedicated Audio Director at Paradox; a fact I think you’re soon going to notice even in good old CK2. I’ll leave you with this sample of his depraved work.

That’s all for now. Next week… who knows? :)

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Community Announcements - BjornB

Hi folks!

We interrupt the regular program for this short broadcast from the Game Director. That is, me. I was planning to talk about something completely different (and admittedly of more substance), but we decided to hold on off on that for a bit. Instead, bear with me as I wax slightly philosophical and delve into the twin personalities of Crusader Kings. Now, that might sound like a diagnosis of mental illness, but it’s actually a beautiful thing that makes the game unique. I often think of Crusader Kings as a potted plant. The pot is the strategy game and the plant is the role-playing aspects, and every time you play the game, the plant grows differently, pruned by player actions… like a Bonsai Tree.

The pot and the soil cannot be neglected, for the roots of the plant - the “story engine” - need to be contained and nurtured by sound rules and balanced mechanics. Strategy games provide fertile soil indeed for captivating drama through their most defining features; freedom of action and conflict. Engaging conflict among a multitude of players and AI actors is really the key to the success of Crusader Kings II, for it causes such amusing stories to emerge and grow.

It should come as no surprise, though, that hybrid games like this tend to attract two rather different kinds of players; those who seek domination through mental acuity and those who are mostly in it for the ride (and everything in between, of course.) This poses an interesting challenge for us, the developers, because we have to expand on the game in ways that will suit both types. As you know, we have wavered back and forth between almost pure RPG expansions like Way of Life and strategic expansions, like Conclave, but we can never seem to please everyone (which is, of course, why we love mods and modders so much!)

Is there a point to all this? Not really, but perhaps you can guess what kind the next expansion will be…

That’s all for now! There should be some actual revelations next time, so stay tuned. :)

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Community Announcements - BjornB

Hello all. I decided that my thoughts on phones last week didn’t really count as a DD, so we are still on #2.This week I’m going to talk about a new set of features we’ve made for the upcoming but as of yet unannounced DLC: Symptoms, diseases, and doctors.

Firstly, doctors, or more accurately, Court Physicians. Court Physician is a new minor title which you can give out to a well-learned person which makes them responsible for diagnosing and treating illnesses in your court.

Now, symptoms! No longer will you simply become “Ill” through an event, instead you will receive one of a variety of symptoms and over time you could become sicker, either you will gain more symptoms or they will evolve into a full blown disease, or perhaps you simply just had a cough and it will pass in time. When you first get a symptom if you have a Court Physician they will first attempt to diagnose what the cause is, and then administer a treatment - if their diagnosis was correct it’s more likely the treatment will be successful.

Here we can see the unfortunate Doge Orso becoming unwell:

The full list of symptoms is: Cough, Fever, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Headache, Chest Pain, Rash, Cramps, Abdominal pain, Fatigue, Malaise.

Depending on a number of factors your symptoms may well manifest into a disease. We’ve added some more diseases too: Flu, Dysentery, Gout, Food Poisoning (not a disease exactly), Rabies, and Cancer.

As we can see, Cassio was right, Orso did have Food Poisoning! I skipped over a few more symptoms appearing, and here they are removed and replaced with the Food Poisoning trait.

At this point your Court Physician will call on you again to offer further treatment. This part is a bit more involved, and depending on the skill and traits of your Court Physician they can offer you up to 4 choices of treatment method: Experimental, Mystic, Proven, or Cautious:

  • Experimental treatments tend to involve radical methods and/or surgery and very much depend on the skill of your Court Physician. Results will likely be very good or very bad depending on how it goes.

  • Mystical treatments are offered by Court Physicians with the Mystic trait and often involves an appeal to a higher power. Because of the capricious nature of spirits, or possibly due to the mind-altering substances used to contact them, Mystical treatments may result in strange outcomes, and can even result in a change of personality in the patient. The power of faith is strong though, and when Mystical treatment goes well it can go very well indeed.

  • Proven treatments represent the tried and true methods which are well-known to work (at least for a given value of “work”). They rarely go too badly wrong, but equally they do not have a huge effect when they go right.

  • Cautious treatments are very safe, but often do little more than make you more comfortable. They will almost always be successful, but have a fairly minor effect.

Here Orso has the choice of Experimental or Proven treatments, or of doing nothing. Since Food Poisoning isn't terribly serious, it would make sense to take the Proven treatment rather than risk the Experimental method, but Cassio is a pretty good Court Physician, so he might well succeed. So, which should I pick? [S]If anyone would like to vote on the matter, start your post with "Experimental", or "Proven" and in a short while I will count the votes and post what happens.[/s]
Well Experimental has won by a landslide, let's see how it goes:

Oh dear. Cassio's experimental surgery seems to have been a total success, but the anesthesia didn't fully take hold...

And that’s basically it, we hope that people with <secret DLC> will enjoy the process of getting sick and horribly dying. Next week Doomdark will talk about some interesting details of the 2.6 patch.

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