Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

We all get sick every once in a while. When certain unnameable stars are ascendant and the pollen count is high, the writers of RPS are stricken with a variety of ailments ranging from the mildly irritating Wheezing Calamities to the truly dreadful Kneecaps-A-Shudder that causes the sound of grinding bones to echo around our word-cubicles, day and night. We have a proud record of ‘zero plagues’ in 2016 though and that’s something to celebrate.

Crusader Kings II [official site] is set in more sickly times though and the next expansion to the bestest of all historical strategy games will explore illness, death and all that other good stuff.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - BjornB


Hello and welcome back to another dev diary about <Secret DLC>! One day we will actually announce this DLC and I’ll be able to use the proper name, but that day is not today! Anyway, right now I am here to tell you about some extra stuff we have made for Pagans, which will be part of the free 2.6 patch (of course, you still need The Old Gods to play as a pagan), and our new Female Advisor events. So, uh, actually this DD is really about 2.6 content and not <Secret DLC>, really, but anyway, onwards!

First of all, Defensive Pagans now have the ability to summon bands of Devout Warriors if they are the primary defender against an enemy of a different religion at the cost of 200 piety. Overall this is rather like the Raise Tribal Army decision and gives Defensive Pagans some extra punch when attacked.

Next, Defensive Pagans also have a new decision which can be used while at peace, and not more often than every 10 years: Ancestor Worship. This allows you to ask your ancestors for help or advise with some part of your life, perhaps you want triumph on the battlefield, maybe you want your realm to Prosper, or perhaps you are just lonely? In any case, once you have decided what it is you want, you must decide what you will offer up to get your request heard, and can range from offering up your eye or a human sacrifice to a more modest feast or carving a simple idol. With the sacrifice made, hopefully you see some kind of result in the not so distant future. Although, skeptics might point out that there’s no evidence the ancestors actually did anything and you may simply be giving them credit for a happy coincidence, that isn’t the kind of thought a pious man ought to have.



here we wish for affection and offer up a feast

With Defensive Pagans covered, let’s move into their more Offensive cousins, the Norse. The first change here is relatively simple, and some of you guessed it from the Trait icons I showed in an earlier DD, but there are now two improved versions of the Viking trait: Ravager and Sea King. These are gained from continuing to sack holdings while raiding after the Viking trait has been gained and come with larger bonuses.



A couple of minor yet neat changes:
  • The Norse may now also gain a trait similar to Crusader when taking part in Great Holy Wars, called Valhalla-bound.
  • Norse Culture will no longer split into into Swedish/Danish etc when it’s part of a powerful Norse realm (which I seem to remember was said to be the case long ago but doesn’t seem to have been implemented) where the ruler either has 2 kingdom tiles or an empire title, or if the faith has been reformed and the Fylkir is Norse. On a related note, Pictish, Old Saxon, and Visigothic cultures will also no longer split/change when part of a powerful realm or their head of religion is of their culture.

Finally, Norse religion rulers now have a decision to appoint female characters in their realm with good Martial skill and appropriate traits as Shieldmaidens. These warrior women can act as bodyguards and/or can be set as commanders for your armies regardless of your gender laws. Shieldmaidens have a number of events relating to both their actions in battle and their training for said battles, and if a player happens to end up as a landed lady they can experience the Shieldmaiden content from the other side.



Now leaving Pagans behind, but staying with cool women, we’ve added a couple of ways to get more female advisors. Firstly, close relatives of a ruler with high stats may ask to be given a job. Secondly, a talented woman may show up in your court and offer her services to you. In either case if you accept they will take up a council position, but you will get an opinion penalty with your vassals - if you have Conclave the size of the penalty is reduced if you have increased your Gender Equality laws. These events do not fire if your gamerules/gender laws/religion/culture allow women to be appointed normally, since in that case you could simply hire them if you want to.



That’s all for this week, next week Doomdark will talk about the future of CK2 beyond <Secret DLC>.

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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


Hi!

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08Tdun5nhUo
Here is a version from the Spanish method of garroting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L37MOstNKIM
There could be a few hunting accidents:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79_YnsBioGs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNB9J_TLnAs
Or sometimes people went kind of extreme with burning people:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0fHNZm4BTk
Few causes when people were thrown down into a nasty pit:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ebJ0PtimBw

Or just want people to suffer really hard before dying:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Smzvpm5YBeA
A bonus video of our dear CEO trying out for a role:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBgfkrMGWvw

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaK2QIfVl3w

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

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