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Crusader Kings II Collection
Here's how technology works in Crusader Kings II as it stands right now: You set the focus for your entire realm to Farming, Legalism, and Tactics... then you ignore that screen for the next 400 years unless you click on it accidentally. The Old Gods (and the accompanying patch that everyone will get for free) is attempting to change that by making technology a more active system. The final dev diary goes into a little more depth on how this will work. You'll find the video version above, and some analysis below.
The best way to describe the new system is this: Duke-tier rulers and up basically serve as the fonts of technology for the world, and their advances will trickle out to neighboring provinces over time. These fonts are fueled by tech points, which you will be able to spend to purchase an advance in each of the 18 newly-consolidated technologies. Unlike the base game, you won't have a random chance to discover the next level of a tech over time, and tech focuses are out.
The way you generate tech points is based on buildings in a province and the liege's skill. Martial skill will generate more Militatry tech points, Stewardship generates Economic tech, and Diplomacy will advance your Cultural tech. The spread of each tech can be seen in the newly-skinned data layer, demonstrated above. Because if there's one thing we grand strategy players love, it's more data layers.
The other tidbit we got that hadn't been previously spoken of is the addition of "Steppe" provinces. Much of Eastern Europe will now be considered part of the Steppes, allowing Altaic and Magyar culture rulers to build the new Steppe Warrior Lodge and Steppe Riding Grounds improvements. These will ensure that their levies are more dominantly composed of mounted troops, as they were historically, since the default troop boosting buildings tend to be infantry-heavy.
As a bonus catch, it looks like the Steppe pagans are getting their own holding portrait art, instead of using the default pagan ones.
The Old Gods releases next Tuesday, and we're fairly sure we've extracted as much possible info as we can at this point without actually playing it. If you're hungry for more, sink your axe into our announcement interview, breakdowns of the first, second, and third dev diaries, details from the developer livestream, and the most in-depth Q&A about the expansion in all of existence.
Life for the pagan warriors of 867 AD was certainly eventful. You had to decide which of the many gods you'd offer a freshly chopped head, fight over the exact distribution of the spoils of a successful pillage, and endure continuous interruption from the members of Led Zeppelin, who were constantly looking for inspiration for 1970s rock songs.
Now Paradox are offering you the chance to add your own notable pagan conundrums to their upcoming Crusader Kings 2 expansion, The Old Gods.
The competition asks players to create an in-game event, providing the title, description and potential outcomes. Of the submitted entries, three winners will picked, and their submissions will be added into the game.
Here are the rules, as laid out by Paradox:
It has to be a simple, one-shot event. No follow-ups, no event series.
It can be historical, humorous, serious, or any combination of those - as long as it fits the period.
We prefer character events, but you can also create a narrative event if you want to include more text.
The event will be restricted to pagans (and Zoroastrians). It's up to you whether it should be generic enough to be available to all of them, or if it should be limited to Norse Pagans, Zoroastrians, Tengri or another specific group.
Unless you have an event picture in mind, we'll pick an appropriate artwork for the event.
The event needs both a trigger and an effect. The trigger can be as simple as being an adult and having a certain religion, or something more restrictive. The effect shouldn't be too severe or impact the game too much, as this will be more of a flavor event.
The event can have multiple options with different effects, or just one. (Having additional options that only show up if the character has a certain trait can be a nice touch, but it isn't required.)
Take care not to write too much, as the text needs to fit inside the event window. If it's too long, we'll shorten it as needed if your event is picked as one of the winners.
Beyond seeing their work added to the expansion, the winners will receive the CKII Bundle, including the game and all previous DLC, as well as a copy of March of the Eagles.
To enter, just add your event idea to this thread on the Paradox forums.
Crusader Kings 2: The Old Gods is due out May 28th. For more on the game, check out the latest video development diaries below.
Sometimes, awesome things just get more awesome. Such is the case with the Game of Thrones mod for Crusader Kings II, which has just posted a dev diary detailing a long-awaited addition. The expansive continent of Essos is under development for a future release, more than doubling the landmass available and introducing such locations from the acclaimed franchise such as Slaver's Bay and the Free Cities. Set sail for the sunrise and start brushing up on your Pentoshi—we've got more details below.
To the casual fan, Essos is the eastern landmass where Daenerys' (that's the white-haired girl with the dragons, if you have as much trouble keeping the names straight as some of my friends) storylines have all taken place so far. It's mainly dominated by city-states that arose from the ashes of the old Valyrian and Ghiscari empires, and they will run in the mod using the mechanics introduced in CK2's The Republic expansion. Thus, you will need The Republic installed to play as them.
The diary also speaks of new mechanics for ruins, since much of Essos is dominated by them. The possibility is mentioned of being able to colonize ruins—a mechanic that has never appeared in Crusader Kings, but is a staple of a couple other Paradox strategy franchises. As for what's not in (at least in the current, internal build): Qarth itself and, sadly, the Dothraki. Much of the continent is shown greyed out as wasteland, but the diary does promise that "the Dothraki shall be implemented in some way and we do have a basic plan for them, but that probably deserves its own full explanation later on." My guess would be that we'll be able to play them once the new mechanics coming in The Old Gods expansion are implemented. The pagan subjugation and rule by might systems would be a great way to model the rise and fall of Khalasars.
It may be a while before Essos is actually implemented, but until then, you can download the latest version of the mod and carve your path across Westeros.
May 1, 2013
It's less than a month until the longships land to bring us The Old Gods, the pagan-focused expansion for Crusader Kings II. We've been keeping close tabs on new details at our Viking Analysis Desk, and today, we've got some extra meaty details for you. Below you'll find our massive Q&A with project lead Henrik Fåhraeus, covering everything from concubines to pagan sacred kings.
We've tried to mostly sail around previously-discussed info, so check out our previous interview, our analysis of the most recent livestream, and breakdowns of Dev Diary 1, Dev Diary 2, and Dev Diary 3.
PC Gamer: Will all ships be capable of traversing rivers, or will this be limited to a specific ship type?
Henrik Fåhraeus: It is not tied to a specific ship type, but only the Vikings can do it; and only until the adjacent counties become too fortified. That way, as a non-pagan, you can protect against river raiding by fortifying your holdings by the major river mouths (essentially representing fortified bridges, etc.).
About what year do you expect fortification technology to make river raids obsolete?
It should start happening fairly early, around 1000, and the process should basically be complete by 1100 AD.
Do these fortifications block friendly ships, as well? For instance, if I'm king of Holmgard and Koningard, will my fortifications eventually block my own ships from using my own rivers to get to the Mediterranean?
No, if you can hold the river provinces, you will always be able navigate them.
Where does the gold from a raid come from? Is it taken from the defending liege's treasury?
The approach we've taken in Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods is that the gold you plunder basically comes from the local population in the county; monks, burghers, rich farmers, etc. This is represented with a bar in the province view. The richer the total tax value of all the holdings in the county, the more gold can be looted. The bar is decreased while any siege is going on in the county, but you can only gain loot through the raiding mechanics. If the county has taken damage of this kind, the tax income is reduced proportionally until the bar is full again (it grows back slowly).
The fortification level of the holdings also plays an important part here; the higher it is, the more of the loot bar is locked down. If you want to loot past that limit, you need to actually occupy the castles, cities and temples in the county. When a holding is taken by raiders, it risks being permanently damaged (building upgrades are lost) or even completely destroyed... so you really need to chase off or hunt down raiders before that happens.
Can you flag your army for raid when you are at war with someone? Do normal wars affect the loot bar of a province at all?
You can toggle an army as a raider when it's in your realm, and you are always allowed to toggle it off (though rulers you have raided will still be hostile towards you for some time). All sieges damage the loot bar, but only raiding armies actually get money from it.
We know that Norse and Tengri rulers take a prestige penalty for not going to war or raiding for too long. What keeps them from just marking a small retinue as raiders, and parking it in some poor, indefensible, single-county ruler's land indefinitely to get around this?
If the raid is completely ineffective (can't besiege anything, getting no loot), you won't get around the penalty.
Can you raid other vassals of your liege if crown authority is low enough?
No, it's a neat idea, but there is no shortage of other raid targets.
Is the protected loot in a province based on the highest fortification level, the lowest fortification level, or some sort of average across all holdings?
It's a sum of the fort level in the county.
How are the children of concubines treated, in terms of legitimacy? Does this vary at all among pagan religions?
They are all legitimate in terms of inheritance, but like legitimized bastards in the Christian world, they are stuck with a permanent trait that slightly reduces their Diplomacy skill. This is, however, something we might still tweak.
If my Norse raider takes the wife of a Christian king as a concubine, and they have a child, would that child get a claim on the Christian ruler's lands?
No, but if you take a Christian princess as your concubine, your children might get weak claims on her father's lands.
Are provinces beside rivers considered coastal, for Republic/trade post purposes?
No. The republics cannot navigate the rivers and cannot build trade posts there. The major rivers are basically a Viking Era feature only.
What else can you tell us about the pagan reformations we've seen in the dev diaries and livestreams?
There are some significant downsides to being an unreformed pagan in Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods; your religion lacks organization and its faithful are vulnerable to conversion by the monotheistic religions. You cannot wage holy wars, but at least your homelands are very hostile to non-pagan troops (very low supply limit). However, even this advantage will evaporate when the Abrahamic rulers gain the requisite technology. So, unless you want to take a cold bath and eat a tasteless wafer, you might need to reform the old ways.
All religions now have five holy sites. If a single rulers controls at least three of them and has enough Piety, he can reform the religion. The various types of reformed pagans will either have Pope-like religious head (vassal to the reformer), or more like a Caliph, who is both secular ruler and head of the religion. Once you reform, you lose the home attrition bonus, but you can convert others (and resist conversion) as efficiently as the Abrahamics, you can start waging holy wars and pagan "Crusades", etc. Not everyone of your religion will choose to embrace the reformed faith; they will become a kind of heretics, but most will eventually convert given time.
Is the attrition bonus for unreformed pagans lost when the ruler converts, or when the population converts?
You only suffer the special attrition if both the county and ruler are pagan, unreformed, and outside your own realm. You can also prevent it if your tech is high enough. Lastly, Tengri pagans do not enjoy this advantage; they have a very powerful Tribal Invasion casus belli instead.
How plausible is it to maintain a pagan kingdom without reformation all the way to the 15th Century?
It's definitely possible, if you can grow so powerful that your Christian and Muslim neighbors fear attacking you. However, you will likely get Crusades coming your way, and being stuck with Gavelkind and the short reign opinion penalty of unreformed pagans makes ruling a large realm difficult in the long run.
On the next page: The Norse pagan sacred kingship and the quest for Vinland.
Which reformed pagans will have a Pope-like head of religion, and which ones will have a Caliph-like one? How did you make this decision?
Only the Norse have a Caliph-like mechanic. The rest are like the Pope or, more accurately, like the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch who is vassal to a secular ruler. The reason that the Norse are different is basically the ancient Germanic tradition of the sacred kingship, where royal bloodlines were often claimed to be descended from gods. For example, according to the sagas, the Yngling dynasty originated with the god Frey (Yngvi-Frey). Kings were even expected to perform priestly duties and sacrifice at the blot (something the early Christian kings had immense problems with). So, the reformed Norse faith has the "Fylkir"—the King of the People—who resembles a Caliph.
When you reform your pagan religion, do you still retain all of the unique CBs (such as Prepared/Horde invasions, the Muslim-style border conquests, and subjugation through "become King" ambitions)?
You completely lose the Subjugation CB, but not the others. However, the Prepared Invasion CB essentially stops being an option once you've become powerful enough; it's only allowed for small to mid-sized realms. Instead of the Subjugation CB, reformed pagans get the Holy War CB.
Does subjugation only work on independent rulers, or could you subjugate a rival king-wannabe's vassals?
It only works on independent rulers.
In the Old Gods livestream, the Reformation of the Norse Faith event seemed to fire when nobody was anywhere close to holding the five holy sites. Was that just something that was scripted to happen for the stream, or is there an alternate way for that to happen?
You only need three of the five sites, provided you have enough piety. However, in our beta builds, it's been too easy, so we've moved many holy sites to more difficult positions. We are still actively testing and balancing this.
With something ahistorical like pagan reformations, is this something we will see happening pretty uniformly in the 867 start, or will it be a bit less likely to see the AI go for it?
You should almost never see the AI attain this. The AI will tend to convert to an Abrahamic faith long before it can take three Holy Sites and get enough Piety.
Will any of the reformed pagans function like Orthodox Christianity, where realms might have an autocephalous regional High Priest?
No, there is only one High Priest and no autocephalous ones, or pentarchs.
Who rules Iceland in 867, considering there... weren't any humans there at that point? How did you make that choice?
Well, truth to be told, we cheated a bit and gave Iceland to independent Norse rulers, though it's at least a decade early. It's not a huge stretch and the island is even poorer and more peripheral than it is in 1066.
If you're playing as the Mongols or the Magyars, will you get events to spawn the sorts of doomstacks we've seen the AI using when you elect to invade a kingdom?
Well, yes. There is a new bookmark where you can play the Mongols just after they've arrived at the edge of the map. The Magyars in 867 also start with a fairly large force, although nowhere close to the hordes of the late game Mongols.
Are pagan warrior cults still in the game at this point?
No, they have been removed completely. Instead, a similar bonus derives directly from the religion of the county. And unreformed pagans have a hard time converting other religions.
We haven't heard much about the Norse fracturing event, which creates the Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian cultures yet. What can you tell us about it? When does it fire, what are the conditions, is it inevitable, etc?
It tends to happen after 1050 or so; counties start flipping culture as a national identity starts to develop and dialects diverge. The rulers can then choose to embrace the process or not. It is hard to stop, but a stubborn player can remain Norse and the provinces can then start flipping back in the late game.
So say I'm a Norse ruler who just happened to conquer part of Tunisia at some point. How does the game decide which of the three fractured cultures I now belong to, with no historical basis for such a thing?
Independent Norse rulers outside Scandinavia will remain Norse, since the process only occurs within the de jure kingdoms of . However, Norse vassals to, say, a Danish king, will tend to become Danish. This is not so strange considering that, arguably, remote Iceland remains Norse to this day (despite having been part of Norway or Denmark for most of its history).
Does the split happen all at once, or will people slowly start to filter into the three, new cultures?
It's a slow, gradual process.
How does the event that makes the Magyars become Hungarian trigger? Does this still happen if I, as a player, decide to take over... say, Poland, instead of Bulgaria?
This is a very special event that can only fire once. It requires a Hungarian culture ruler to hold enough of the de jure kingdom of Hungary.
When the Magyars invade Bulgaria, what happens to their old homelands? How do you model the "leave the neighborhood" aspect of nomadic cultures?
The event that forms Hungary changes the culture in many of the conquered provinces to Hungarian, and removes that culture from their eastern counties, but they do get to keep control of them. The idea is that the Pechenegs or another tribe will, in turn, take that from them.
If I'm a pagan ruler with holdings in Norway and Sweden, could I adopt the King of Norway ambition, conquer it, move my capital, then pick up the King of Sweden ambition and keep conquering?
It is possible, but once you create one of the kingdoms, you can't take the ambition again. If you don't create a kingdom and you die early, your conquered duchies risk getting split between your sons through Gavelkind. But yes, with some work, it can be done.
What will cause East and West Francia to change to their 1066-appropriate names?
Those names are tied to the Carolingian (Karling) dynasty. If another dynasty manages to claim the throne in either title, it will change name to Germany or France forever.
How does Asturias become Castille? We've seen Leon and Galicia break off from it, but not how the name of the core realm will change.
Asturias actually becomes Leon, specifically (as it did in real history). This is essentially just a renaming that happens if the capital is moved to Leon.
How does sending missionaries to pagans work, for the Christian rulers? I assume it's different from the normal Court Chaplain province conversion process.
Actually, you just park them in the capital of an independent, unreformed pagan realm. Many factors will determine their success; the year, the traits of the target, etc. Mind you, pagan rulers may also convert to an attacker's faith if they are about to lose a Holy War. They can also be convinced to convert by a spouse or concubine.
You mentioned in the stream that naval mercenaries have been removed. Will these re-form as time goes on?
They have not actually been removed, but you cannot hire them until around 1066.
Are there any plans for future bookmarks between 867 and 1066, or would the team prefer to focus on post-1066?
We have no plans for that, no.
Will there be any events surrounding the Norse discovery of off-map areas like Greenland and Vinland?
There are events concerning that, but only for flavor and immersion.
We'd like to heartily thank Henrik for fielding our berserker barrage of questions. Keep an eye to the horizon for Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods, releasing on May 28. I'm also going to just leave this link to my first Crusader Kings Chronicle here. Not that I'm trying to hint at anything.
Sharpen your old axes: Crusader Kings II's pagan/viking expansion, The Old Gods, has been confirmed for a May 28 release. Alongside the announcement, a two-hour livestream on Monday unveiled some new details, as well as a few things that have been added since the last live build we had a look at. I've tried not to retread too much previously released info, so if you need to get caught up, here are my breakdowns of Dev Diary 1, Dev Diary 2, and Dev Diary 3. You'll find the freshest bits below.
What we learned from the livestream:
The only republics existing at the 867 A.D. bookmark are Venice and Amalfi, the latter being a completely new historical trade union made up of both Italian Catholic and Greek Orthodox patrician families. Genoa and Pisa can both form between 867 and 1066—we saw Genoa pop up during the stream. We're unsure whether or not they always will.
According to game designer Chris King, there is a new "Berserker" trait that certain characters can have. The effects and cultural restrictions remain unknown.
Since there weren't that many powerful Shiite Muslim landowners in 867, an event will fire after game start that spawns the first Shia Caliph. He will begin as a landless adventurer with a large host of supporters, and carve out a kingdom for himself to begin the Shia rise to power. This event was modeled after the rise of the Mamluks.
Muslims are given an across-the-board starting boost to technology, due to their historical scientific superiority during the time period the expansion depicts.
If you have researched too far ahead in any technology track, you will take a percentage penalty to researching the next step until time has caught up to the point at which that tech would have, historically, become available. Thus, rushing down one tech path will now result in less efficient use of tech points over a long campaign.
You now get a base boost to Military, Economy, and Cultural tech based on the stats of your Marshal, Steward, and Court Chaplain, respectively. Council missions no longer increase your chances of discovering new tech, but rather speed up the spread of tech in the targeted province from all adjacent, higher-tech provinces. This will give you more incentive to actually move your tech research missions around, creating "highways" of tech spread to outlying areas of your realm.
Any time you capture a fortress as any religion, you will now be able to take prisoners from the court there, such as the ruling lord's family. If you are a pagan ruler, you can force any such prisoners who are female and of age to become your concubines.
Succession for pagans treats children of concubines exactly the same as children of wives.
Zoroastrian rulers are apparently less concerned with incest than other religions. Concrete details were lacking, but they made it sound like marrying your own daughter is all well and good with Ahura Mazda.
The Jomsvikings are in the game as a Holy Order that can be hired by Norse Pagan rulers. Holy Orders for other pagan religions are still under consideration.
There will be a much larger mercenary pool, and many cultures that did not have cultural mercenaries will have them now.
Flavor events surrounding the great East/West schism in Christianity are still being considered, but are not currently in the game. Orthodox and Catholic are still being treated as "effectively separate" in 867.
If you are a pagan ruler under a Christian liege (such as Erik the Heathen in 1066), some of the pagan mechanics—notably raiding—will be switched off. We're unsure if this is based only on top-level liege, or if it applies to any liege. (For example, a pagan count under a Christian duke under a pagan king may or may not have these restrictions.)
Heretics can now rise up in organized rebellions.
New formable empires include Abyssinia and Mali on either side of Africa. These join the previously-revealed Tartaria, Carpathia, and Italia, such that every province on the map now belongs to a de jure empire.
Dublin will be ruled by the Norseman Ivar the Boneless, son of Ragnar Lodbrok, in 867.
Pagans have the ability to sacrifice prisoners for Presige and Piety boosts.
We'll have even more info to place on the altar when our huge Old Gods Q&A goes live in the lead-up to release.
Paradox Development Studio is known for some well-regarded grand strategy titles with notoriously high learning curves such as Europa Universalis and Crusader Kings. In an era where plenty of PC franchises seem to have been streamlined to appeal to a wider market, Paradox hasn't let up in terms of the often almost Byzantine depth (pun intended) its core titles are built on. Studio lead Johan Andersson, speaking to Digitally Downloaded, said that he doesn't think a game has to pick between appealing to a wide audience or being complex.
In Andersson's philosophy, the solution to reaching a wider audience isn't simplifying or taking things away. It lies in making the features that are already there easier to understand, as is the studio's goal in the upcoming Europa Universails IV. "Improvements to your interface allow you to keep the same level of complexity while at the same time broadening the appeal," he said. "With a new a game and the freedom it offers we can start from square one with the interface. So we are looking to streamline the interface to help new and old players alike."
Andersson also reaffirmed his studio's commitment to the PC, and expressed that there are no current plans to expand the core family of grand strategy titles to other platforms. "We hope come across as grand, fun and challenging and we´re not sure we could make that on console," he explained. "I've worked for over 18 years in the gaming industry, and I've seen so many things come and go, that I just believe in one thing: 'good games sell.'"
You can read the full interview on Digitally Downloaded.
In Skyrim, while you were shouting down dragons, dicing up Daedra and fast-travelling up a bloody big mountain, did you ever stop to wonder what it would be like to pack up adventuring and go live as a Jarl? Probably not - their life appears to be a repetitious bore of sitting on a throne, wandering to bed, going back to the throne and occasionally making a pompous speech. But, if untethered from Bethesda's engine, they could get up to all sorts of political and military mischief. That's the aim of Elder Kings - an Elder Scrolls themed mod for Crusader Kings 2.
It's set before Skyrim. In fact, it's set before all the Elder Scrolls games, taking place in the Interregnum period of the Second Era. Supposedly, it was a time of petty bickering and tribal warring - which makes for a perfect Crusader Kings setting.
The mod promises 25 races and cultures, with unique bonuses for each, as well as new traits, events and diseases - adding vampirism to CK2's already eclectic range of ailments.
It's still early in development, although the recent 0.1.1 patch has fixed a fair number of bugs from launch. You can download Elder Kings from ModDB.
Welcome back to our Viking Analysis Desk for a look at the third development diary for The Old Gods, the upcoming, pagan-focused expansion for Crusader Kings II. This entry focuses on prepared invasions, and clarifies some information about which types of pagans will be able to do what, and to whom. Let's dive in...
Immediately, in this first screenshot, we can see confirmation of a Scandinavian portrait pack. That hasn't exactly been a secret for those who have been paying attention, but it's good to see some more variety being injected into the mix in terms of character faces. It's also hard to tell from this resolution, but it kind of looks like the unit model on Akershus, just above the tooltip, might be new. Every major expansion so far has also launched alongside a unit pack, so again, nothing too earth-shattering.
We also get a look at the new "Become King" ambition, demonstrated briefly in the Old Gods livestream, which allows pagans to get a free Subjugation casus belli on any other pagan ruler within the de jure realm they seek to control. Based on the wording of the dev diary, it sounds like this Subjugation system will only work with pagans fighting other pagans, but is not restricted by culture.
We can also see the new Petty Kingdom system in play. The border on Hrane's portrait indicates that he's a Duke-tier ruler, but due to his culture, his written title will be "King."
In this second screen, history buffs should be drawn to the lower right of the interface. It seems the three successor kingdoms of Charlemagne's Karling dynasty have been renamed from Francia, Burgundy, and The Holy Roman Empire to the more 867-appropriate East Francia, Lotharingia, and West Francia. What will cause them to revert to their original names by the time 1066 rolls around, your guess is as good as mine. We know the historical names in Scandinavia are tied to the new "Norse" culture, which will eventually splinter into Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish. It's possible that the existing "Frankish" culture has been changed to refer to earlier Frankish people, and will, at some point, evolve into "French."
Scotland, it seems, is still called Scotland, rather than the 867-appropriate Strathclyde. And thus the case of Official Forums v. Game Designer Chris King shall continue.
More excitingly, we get a look at the Prepared Invasion mechanic we've heard about, which allows leaders with relatively few feudal holdings to call on warriors from across the land to aid their conquests. It looks like this will be restricted only to Norse pagans, and require a one-time expenditure of 500 prestige. The diary also clarifies that Prepared Invasions will only be usable against non-pagans.
Finally, we have this image of good ol' Rurik, the Norse founder of the state that would become modern Russia. There isn't a whole lot new in this one that isn't already pretty commonly known about the expansion, but we do get our first look at the indicator for non-reformed Norse pagans taking prestige loss for going too long without warring or raiding. For those interested in minutiae, we can also see that Rurik is Attractive, Gregarious, Ambitious, Just, and Deceitful.
The other little tidbits we got from the diary deal with the Invasion casus belli. Like Muslims, any pagan can declare an invasion on any neighboring county. For Norse pagans, this ability extends to any coastal county on the map, making their naval mobility all the more intimidating. Granted, we have been told that navigable rivers do not count as coastline, so they won't be able to just invade, say, Paris, on a whim. That's what raids are for.
Additionally, Altaic pagans (notably the Mongols), as well as the nomadic Magyars, who go on to become the Hungarians by 1066, will be able to declare invasions of entire kingdoms with their mounted hordes.
I've been drafting a weighty scroll of questions for the Paradox team about the Old Gods, which will be dispatched to them by raven before the day is out. Keep a keen eye for the full Q&A on the near horizon.
Crusader Kings 2's Game of Thrones total conversion has received a huge update, adding in two new scenarios with which to experience the mod's blend of war, intrigue and special family cuddles. This time, players will get the chance to try The Blackfyre Rebellion and A Feast for Crows scenarios, along with improved Hedge Knights and building options. There's a video teasing the new additions, but it comes with a couple of dire warnings.
Dire Warning #1: The video contains spoilers for A Feast For Crows, book four of the series and, incidentally, also the name of my Bioshock Infinite playthrough.
Dire Warning #2: Because of the aforementioned spoilers, I've not actually watched the video. It could contain anything! I did do a quick thumbnail scan, though, and it mostly seems to contain video of the game. So you're probably not going to see the mod's developers dancing naked in a giant vat of trifle or anything.
In all, there's a giant changelist of new features and fixes. The patch note summary gives the basic run-down of what to expect: "The first thing you’ll notice is that armies can move again, but the most perceptive amongst you will no doubt notice we have two new scenarios: the much requested Blackfyre Rebellion and the spoiler-heavy A Feast for Crows (seriously, don’t even think about clicking on it if you haven’t read all the books).
"There are a lot of tweaks and additions, as usual. You’ll find, for instance, that you have new options to employ Hedge Knights. We have begun adding sensible buildings at last, so that late game should hopefully be improved, and there has been quite an overhaul in certain parts of the map."
You can download Crusader Kings 2 - A Game of Thrones from its ModDB page.
The much-anticipated pagan expansion for Crusader Kings II, The Old Gods, draws ever nearer to release, with the devs revealing in a livestream that it is currently "feature complete" and undergoing QA testing. Among these freshly-completed features is the ability for the new playable pagans to raid their neighbors for delicious gold: a system that was explained in today's dev diary.
The way raiding works will be based on which pagan religion you are playing. If you're anything but Norse, you'll be able to raid any land provinces adjacent to your realm that are not under your control, and of a different religion. Raiding drains a new wealth bar that exists in every province—the lower this bar gets, the less gold the province's liege will receive from it in taxes. Raiding can be countered by improving your fortifications, which puts a cap on how much wealth the raiders can take. A large raiding force, however, can siege your holdings as normal for an even larger share of plunder, possibly triggering events that can damage or destroy buildings, improvements, and even entire holdings.
Troops must be flagged as raiders for these mechanics to take effect. Once you do this, you will become hostile to any foreign province you move into, and raiding will happen automatically with no need for a declaration of war.
If you happen to be a Norse pagan, things get a little more interesting. You'll have the opportunity to raid further afield, along with the mechanics to support it. Norse raiders aren't restricted to border countries—they can raid anywhere that they have a ship in a neighboring body of water. This includes the new, traversable river systems, which will only be accessible by Norse ships. The fleet acts as a drop-off point for your loot, and bringing more ships will let you store a larger haul. Unlike border raids, your pillaged cash won't be added to your treasury until the ships return safely to port.
Unfortunately, much like real life, the Viking Age will eventually draw to a close. Once the fortifications in a riverside province get to a certain level (some time around the 1066 AD start of the original game, I'd imagine), and depending on what the AI prioritizes, those river tiles will block all hostile ships. Whether this applies to friendly Norsemen with military access, we're not sure. But that and more should be answered in our upcoming, gigantic Old Gods Q&A next week.
This is all tied in, of course, with the fact that Norse and Tengri pagan rulers will take hits to their Prestige (and consequently, vassal opinion) for remaining at peace for long periods. The dev diary confirms that this system intentionally "forces aggressive pagans (especially lower rank ones, like counts) to raid unless they want to live with negative Prestige." This can be avoided by converting, or reforming your pagan religion—but more on that in the Q&A.
The next Dev Diary is scheduled for April 17, and we'll be ready here at the PC Gamer Viking Analysis Desk to remove its entrails and ascertain all we can.