Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Adam Smith)

The Old Gods expansion for Crusader Kings II is out now. It costs £9.99 and for a few short hours, the base game is actually cheaper than its expansion thanks to a 75% price reduction. The Old Gods moves the start date back a couple of centuries and adds playable pagans, among other things. I’ve played CK II more than any other game in the last 12 months and it’s going to end up at or near the top of the list over the next 12 as well. That’s at least in part thanks to the DLC, which has opened up new features, factions and play styles. I shall be playing with the Old Gods tonight. I hope they’re friendly.


PC Gamer

I've been more excited about playing as pagans in Crusader Kings 2 than anything else PC gaming related so far this year, and the wait is finally over! The medieval grand strategy juggernaut's fifth expansion, The Old Gods, has released with a "Hardcore" trailer that pairs 9th century vikings, beards, and boats with one of their greatest anachronistic complements: shredding electric guitar riffs.

Even if you don't purchase Old Gods, you'll get the fairly massive Patch 1.10 for free. If you need more details on the expansion to decide if you want to grab it, I've been following every tidbit of pre-release info home at night and analyzing it all through its windows while it sleeps. The short version? It has vikings now.

Now is also a good time to get caught up on the first Crusader Kings Chronicle. Nudge nudge.
Announcement - Valve
Save 75% on Crusader Kings II during this week's Midweek Madness*!

Crusader Kings II explores one of the defining periods in world history in an experience crafted by the masters of Grand Strategy. Medieval Europe is brought to life in this epic game of knights, schemes, and thrones...

*Offer ends Thursday at 10AM Pacific Time

Product Update - Valve
2013-05-28: v1.10

- Completely revised technology system
- Revised buildings to fit the new tech system
- Added a Raiding and Loot system
- Revised the Religious Authority system, with Holy Sites for all religions
- Major rivers, navigable by Norse Pagans
- Norse pagans can prepare invasions
- Pagans and Zoroastrians can take concubines
- Multiplayer should now work between all three platforms (Windows, OSX and Linux)
- Added new "The Mongols" bookmark set in 1220
- Added the County and Duchy of Amalfi (merchant republic)
- Added "Steppe" terrain

- Revised many shields, courtesy of Txini
- Added court search option to character finder, which lists only characters in your court
- Can now mark characters as special interest from the character view
- If a character of special interest dies, they will now be removed from characters of special interest
- Landed characters of special interest who die will now pass on their special interest status to their heir
- Dead spouses are now shown with the old previous/next spouse buttons
- Updated the tutorial
- Outliner: Clicking a family palace now opens the republic view
- Republic View: Fixed a glitch with the trade post limit tooltip
- Character View: Landed councillors and foreign prisoners are no longer listed under your court tab
- Succession View: Added some religion specific death texts
- Ransom Prisoner now works when you select the prisoner through the normal interface too
- The "Ask to Ransom Prisoner" interaction no longer shows up when it should not
- Diplo View: Fixed a glitch with the prestige from marriage icon
- Diplo View: If arranging a marriage in your own court, the female will always be regarded as "your" party, for correct prestige
- Bulgarians now use western slavic graphics instead of eastern
- Can no longer see the Release Prisoner interaction if the prisoner is not yours
- Can no longer see the Exile Prisoner interaction if the prisoner is not yours
- Fixed a glitch with white text in the tooltip for the 'religion_authority' effect
- Fixed bug with missing sound 'transferregimentship'
- Event spawned regiments now have names
- Added delayed tooltips to explain tribal and titular titles in the Title View
- Fixed a refresh issue with on-map province names
- Fixed a refresh issue with on-map CoAs
- Fixed some trigger tooltips
- Fixed several issues with missing parameters and wrong strings in succession marriage and betrothal interaction texts
- Fixed a misleading tooltip in independence faction revolter war score
- Revised some message categories to get the correct event window frames
- Improved the tooltip on the diplo relations map mode
- The cultural title names are now updated correctly even before you start a game
- Adjusted diplomatic colors in Scandinavia
- The Polish counties now all have reddish political color instead of bright green
- Improved the create and usurp title tooltip so it shows more info even if some requirements are false

- Fixed multiple crash issues
- Fixed some "out of sync" issues with multiplayer
- Some further speed optimizations
- Liege levies now have 0 morale when raised
- Bastards may now marry normally. If they have children, they will start a new dynasty.
- Birth rates have been reduced a lot
- Independent dukes of certain cultures are now called kings (of "Petty" kingdoms)
- You now need more than 50% of the de jure counties to usurp or create a title
- Added a special event for the rise of the Shi'a Caliphate
- Increased the max distance to hire mercs
- You are now allowed to switch commanders if no crown law applies
- Reworked the penalty for overrunning your max demesne size so it does not crush small demesnes completely
- Prisoners who are close relatives to the main participants are now automatically released after a war
- You now only get a "mercy" opinion bonus with your vassals for releasing a vassal ruler
- Fixed a bug where mercenaries would sometimes be raised in a wasteland province
- Fixed a bug where the military view sound would play repeatedly if window was kept open
- Catholic Holy Orders will no longer fight other Christians unless they are a heresy of Catholicism
- Fixed a bug where the 'Chancellor is looking at my wife' event had a 99%+ chance to fire each year.
- Revised many cultural first names
- Only Christian prelates care about traits like Chaste, Celibate and Lustful
- Demand Conversion now also converts the court of the recipient
- Revised Gavelkind succession to work better and be smarter about titles that characters already hold
- Prevented Gavelkind exploit where you could grant your oldest child and heir extra titles before succession
- Fixed a bug where you were allowed to send off imprisoned children to be educated in other courts
- No longer able to grant honorary titles to vassals of vassals that are currently in revolt
- Made the events where people claim they would make a better councillor rarer
- Fixed a potential problem with Patricians moving to another court for no reason
- Primogeniture: Fixed a bug where living mothers could inherit ahead of younger sons
- Increased the minimum religious authority required to ask for invasions and excommunication
- Vassal religious heads can now grant the invasion CB
- Fixed an issue where you would vassalize the pope in wars over Rome if he had minor holdings there
- Fixed a bug where the laws would not always get updated along with the government type
- Increased the chance of getting the inbred traits
- Fixed a problem with laws not being validated on religion change
- Most randomly generated men now start out lowborn
- Tweaked dynasty name generation for newly landed Lowborn characters
- Improved choice of exile for married characters
- Shared revolter occupation war score now works when the liege is the attacker too
- Corrected the region around the Aral Sea
- Added a duchy of Samarkand
- Fixed a bug with the surrender effect of Holy Wars
- Posthumously born children of Doges no longer get a claim on the Republic
- Fixed a bug where the presence of live Zoroastrians in the game would mess up various Mongol events
- Fixed a glitch where newly activated titles could be labelled Theocracies
- Can no longer offer vassalization to someone you have granted independence
- Moved the duchies of Tabriz and Azerbaijan de jure into the kingdom of Persia
- Added an event where powerful vassals can choose independence after a successful Decadence invasion
- Added an Empire of Italia
- Added de jure Empire of Tartaria
- Added de jure Wendish Empire
- Added de jure empire of Carpathia
- Added de jure empires of Mali and Abyssinia
- Gave the Pechenegs a kingdom tier title
- The kingdom of Italy is now a de jure part of the HRE in 1066
- Outsiders can now ask to join "other" claimant wars
- Added a Muslim Caliphal subjugation CB, much like the pagan one
- Simplified and improved the Tribal Invasion CB
- Tribal titles can no longer de jure assimilate duchies and kingdoms
- Tribal titles are now destroyed if held by someone with normal titles of the same or higher tier
- Added a number of tribal tags, mostly intended for the 867 start
- The event "Comet Sighted" can now actually fire
- Fixed an issue where counties and minor baronies could given a null holder
- Fixed some issues with the outcome of claimants getting king+ tier titles
- Fixed an issue with the outcome of usurpation and grant title event effects for the primary title of a holder with multiple highest tier titles
- Fixed an issue with newly activated titles getting the wrong government type
- Non-pagan Temple type characters no longer inherit claims
- Added new ambition: "Become King of X". Cannot be cancelled.
- No longer allowed to land eunuchs with feudal holdings
- Fixed a bug preventing a complete victory against a landless enemy with only fleets
- Blocked the whole event chain leading up to bastard children for muslims
- Added vassal Opinions of a liege who lets a guardian of the right or wrong culture educate their heir
- Fixed a rather bad error in combat with the defensive religious bonus
- When the primary title is taken from a Caliph, the Caliphate should now go with it if the taker can hold it
- Fixed some bugs with the creation triggers for the Sunni and Shi'a Caliphates and the Latin Empire
- Higher tier bishops are no longer generated with dynasties either
- Now allowed to pick a lowborn character to play in the lobby, if he will get a dynasty as soon as the game starts
- Added Bolghar and Khazar cultures
- Fixed a bug with culture-less holders being created for baronies that had had a scripted holder before being taken out of circulation
- Gave the Volga Finnic tribes some new duchies
- Added two now cultures: Mordvin and Samoyed
- Revised province cultures in the Finnic areas
- Added an Avar culture
- Independence faction leaders are no longer imprisoned on white peace
- Added creation condition to the kingdom of Hungary
- Reshuffled some de jure provinces around Lithuania and created the duchy of Grodno
- Fixed a bug with regnal numbers and moving back in history past the first holder of a title
- No longer allowed to grant independence to de jure vassals of your own religion
- Inactive titles no longer get holders automatically until explicity activated
- The Holy Orders are now properly deactivated with no rulers until they appear
- The Mongols are now properly deactivated with no rulers until they appear
- The Aztecs are now properly deactivated with no rulers until they appear
- Open Elective realms now only get Lowborn rulers and courtiers
- The arriving Mongol Khans are now Batu and Hulegu
- Fixed a bug with dead Caliphs no longer being styled "Caliph"
- Fixed a slight bug in the claimant faction ultimatum decision
- Split the Swedish county of Småland and adjusted the history files
- Added the county of Bar (split from Verdun), with history courtesy of Voy
- Fixed some issues with the trigger 'revolt_risk' and made sure it's used correctly everywhere
- Added Slavic Pagan religion
- Added some more straits to Rügen and the Western Isles
- Made Venice a single county de jure kingdom
- Cut the strait to Venezia
- Adjusted the Nubian region de jure
- Adjusted culture and religion history in Cilicia
- Moved c_viviers (Vivarais) from d_toulouse to d_dauphine
- Slightly adjusted the border around Uppland, Västmanland and Gästrikland
- De jure change: Sarpa to Azov and Kasogs to Alania
- De jure change: Portucale to Portugal
- De jure change: Hedmark to Ostlandet
- De jure change: Foix to Toulouse
- De jure change: Nice to Provence
- De jure change: The kingdom of Wallachia no longer part of the ERE
- De jure change: Armenia Minor to Anatolia and renamed "Cilicia"
- De jure change: New duchy of Jazira
- De jure change: Al Bichri to Syria
- De jure change: Cut the Duchy of Oxford. Gave its counties to Essex/Bedford and Hwicce/Gloucester.
- De jure change: Qwivir to Hamadan
- De jure change: Dailam to Tabaristan
- De jure change: Bjarmia to Perm
- De jure change: Tyumen to Cumania
- De jure change: Aktobe to Cumania
- Increased the Permian province sizes for aesthetic reasons
- The Pomeranians are now Slavic Pagans
- 1066: Fixed a bug with the county of Pavia
- Changed name of Maghreb culture to Berber
- The names of Interesting Muslims should now be displayed correctly
- Dead sons should no longer participate in Family Feuds
- Added title history for the Byzantine Empire going back all the way to Augustus
- Added Saladin as an Interesting Character in "The Third Crusade" bookmark
- Added Khagans Batu and Hulegu as Interesting Characters in "Rise of the Hansa" bookmark
- Added Wikipedia links to numerous characters
- Adjusted position of Reykjavik on the map
- Fixes to the Von Sayn dynasty
- Added unique council titles for Greek rulers
- Baldwin V of Jerusalem now has the correct dynasty
- Province owners will no longer burn down Trade Posts belonging to a vassal's vassal
- Added missing Sayyid trait to Ummayad characters
- Alexander Nevsky now has some scripted traits
- Ezzelino III da Romano now has some scripted traits
- Friends and Rivals events should now be a bit more common
- Added Margraves of Susa
- Various changes and fixes to several Welsh characters
- Corrections and additions to House Maelienydd
- House Ua Flaithbertaig / Ua Briáin Seóla dynasty filled out
- Additions to House of Mathrafal Powys
- Fixes to the Trpimirovic dynasty
- Character 455520 is no longer female
- Gaston the Crusader no longer gets his nickname on birth
- Additions to the de Holland dynasty
- Fixed issues with later Ylving monarchs
- Various fixes and additions related to Ida von Cham
- Bahri Sultan of Egypt's children now have the correct culture
- Ramiro Garcés now has Basque culture
- Added additional holders for the Bishopric of Roskilde
- Fixes to the de Rethel dynasty
- Added Tewdwr dynasty, precursors to the House of Tudor
- Fixes to the marriages of Frederick Barbarossa
- Added the bastards of Henry Beauclerc
- Added missing wife and sons of Herluin de Conteville
- Graphical updates to many coats of arms
- Changed traits of Caliph al-Mustansir
- Fixed the names of some English characters
- Added King John's missing children
- Fixes and additions to the af Munsö dynasty
- Additions and changes to the de la Pole dynasties
- Various changes to Nizam al-Mulk
- Gyda Eiriksdottir now has the correct father
- Fixes and additions to the Yngling dynasty
- Fixed and additions to the Capetian dynasty
- Tiborg de Provence now has the correct father
- Fixes and changes to Stephen of Blois' family
- Added missing marriage to Welf Guelph
- Changes to Boleslaw II the Bold and his close family
- Hoël of Nantes is no longer lowborn
- Hugh 'the Red' de Sully now has his own dynasty
- Burgonde de Bachaumont is now properly female
- Fixed a bug with event 248 for unlanded characters

- Tweaked military AI to be a bit smarter
- Fixed a bug where the AI would disband Holy Orders even if they were fighting religious enemies and could afford them
- Will no longer attempt to use Holy Orders to siege enemy provinces of the same religion
- Muslims will now make use of Holy Orders when fighting other Muslim faiths
- A bit more focused on de jure grants
- Will not create claimant factions for the parents of the current ruler
- Fixed a bug with Patricians not educating their children
- More careful about raising Crown Authority to the highest levels
- Electors will now tend to vote for other dynasties if the reigning one is too powerful in the realm
- Adjusted title revokation acceptance for baron tier characters
- More nasty plots against overly powerful dynasties
- Likelier to start and join claimant factions against overly powerful dynasties, if the claimant is of another dynasty
- Fixed an issue with nominations for Catholic Bishoprics
- Emperors will now sometimes destroy held kingdom titles
- Will now often join claimant wars pushing their claim for some title
- Tweaked marriage chances between pagans
- Tweaked title creation/usurpation for tribes
- Smarter about fabricating claims
- Improved choice of "assimilation culture"
- Tweaked guardian selection while desiring to assimilate into the local culture
- Fixed some DoW targetting issues
- Certain religions are now more passive, some more aggressive
- Tweaked opinion effect on DoWs
- Fixed an Elective voting indecision issue
- Snappier about picking an ambition
- Will be less stubborn about marrying for an alliance if it has no valid player successor
- Fixed a bug where it could dismiss special event spawned troops
- Will now prioritize recreating destroyed religious head titles
- DoW prio to tribes so they will try to take their de jure kingdom
- Will not offer to join holy wars to defend someone in another region (overseas), unless it neighbors them somewhere
- Will do more actions towards its vassals even while at war
- A bit better at handing out minor titles
- Fixed a bug where non-patrician baron tier vassals would always say yes to all diplomacy
- Will not pose claimant ultimatums while the claimant is fighting a war together with the liege
- Will save some of its state so it can be more consistent after reload

- Added system for excluding use of inappropriate names for religious reasons
- Added religion_modifiers, these are temporary modifiers to a religion's MA score
- Added scripting commands add_consort = x and is_consort = yes/no/x
- Added 'consort' event target
- Added 'christian_opinion' to traits
- Added 'christian_church_opinion' to traits
- Added 'zoroastrian_opinion' to traits
- Disabled the character history command 'give_job_title' (use an effect instead)
- Added trigger 'dynasty_realm_power'
- Added console command: init_laws [title]
- Exported FERTILITY_BASE_MULT to defines
- Exported many values to defines
- Added 'spawn_fleet' effect that can match characters
- Traits can now be marked as religious, which will clear them out if a character changes religion
- Added dynasty flag 'used_for_random'
- Fixed a bug with the 'controls_religion' event trigger
- Added parameter 'disband_on_peace' to the event effect 'spawn_unit'
- Event spawned sub units can now be marked as not inheritable (cannot_inherit = yes)
- Added safeguards to prevent strange crashes when trying to add non-existent temporary modifiers
- Added 'adjective' event effect
- Tweaked the 'set_name' effect so that it can reset title names
- Added trigger and effect 'any_consort'
- Added effect 'random_consort'
- Added title history commands 'name', 'adjective', 'reset_name' and 'reset_adjective'
- Event effects can now be run in title history as well
- Added 'insert_title_history' event command'
- Added event effect 'cancel_job_action'
- Added event effect 'remove_holding_modifier'
- Added event effect 'refill_holding_levy'
- Added Casus Belli type flags 'apply_short_occ_mod' and 'apply_short_occ_mod'. These control whether or not the "Recently Conquered" and "New Administration" holding modifiers are set on victory.
- Added an 'aggression' field to religions (AI parameter)
- The 'create_character' effect now correctly defaults to 'dynasty = random'
- Added event effect 'make_primary_title'
- Fixed some minor issues with the triggers 'higher_tier_than' and 'lower_tier_than'
- Fixed a bug with the 'de_jure_vassal_or_below' trigger
- Fixed an issue with the effect 'usurp_title_plus_barony_if_unlanded_and_vassals' vs holders with multiple kingdoms
- Added 'can_cancel' flag to character ambitions
- Added trigger 'attribute_diff'
- Added trigger 'is_reformed_religion'
- Fixed some issues with trigger 'is_parent_religion'
- Fixed an issue with decision scripts and very low likelihoods
- Can now specify 'used_for_dynasty_names' in landed titles
- Added trigger 'holy_order'
- Fixed a bug with "religion" change at a certain date in the character histories
- Exported SHORT_REIGN_OPINION_MULT to defines
- Added a 'short_reign_opinion_year_mult' field to religions that can override the define SHORT_REIGN_OPINION_MULT
- Added trigger:
num_culture_realm_provs = {
num = X
culture = [tag/target]
- Added trigger:
num_religion_realm_provs = {
num = X
religion = [tag/target]
- Added "Killer" character text promotion
- Added "GetSonDaughter" character text
- Added trigger: preparing_invasion = [yes/no]
- Added event target: invasion_target
- History: Added proper working support for removing holdings
- Individual dynasties can now be overridden by mods without replacing the whole file
- Exported define PAGAN_HOME_SUPPLY_MOD
- Added 'defensive_attrition' to religions
- The creation trigger on landed titles now has the title itself in the FROM scope
- Added trigger 'any_previous_holder'
- Death and birth dates in character history files now only use the outer date. (Ignores the X in "birth = X")
- Added trigger 'relative_power'
- Added 'piety_cost' and 'prestige_cost' to casus bellis. This means they are visible to select even if you currently don't have enough Piety or Prestige.
- Added 'match_min' and 'match_max' parameters to the 'spawn_unit' and 'spawn_fleet' effects
- Added 'female_temple_holders' field to religions
- Scripted in a 'allow_distant' parameter in CBs
- Added on action 'on_siege_over_winner'
- Added PREVPREVPREVPREV scope (does not work everywhere)
- Added 'GetFatherMother' parameter to text

PC Gamer

Crusader Kings 2's The Old Gods expansion launches tomorrow. In preparation, Paradox have deployed a huge patch list of tweaks, balance changes, fixes and new additions. And that means more funny-out-of-context patch notes. Last time, we got such gems as "tweaked deathdate of Mubashir, Duke of Mallorca, and made him eunuch." This time? Missing children restored, marriages fixed and inbreeding increased.

First though, the major changes:

Completely revised technology system
Revised buildings to fit the new tech system
Added a Raiding and Loot system
Revised the Religious Authority system, with Holy Sites for all religions
Major rivers, navigable by Norse Pagans
Norse pagans can prepare invasions
Pagans and Zoroastrians can take concubines
Multiplayer should now work between all three platforms (Windows, OSX and Linux)
Added new "The Mongols" bookmark set in 1220
Added the County and Duchy of Amalfi (merchant republic)
Added "Steppe" terrain

For the rest, head over to the full changelist forum thread, where the developers have also been answering questions about both the update and tomorrow's expansion.

As for the more ridiculous elements of Paradox's expanding medieval soap opera, here are some patch highlights:

Dead sons should no longer participate in Family Feuds
Character 455520 is no longer female
Fixes to the marriages of Frederick Barbarossa
Added the bastards of Henry Beauclerc
Added King John's missing children
Burgonde de Bachaumont is now properly female
Increased the chance of getting the inbred traits

That last one can probably be renamed "The Lannister Fix".

For more on The Old Gods, check out our in-depth Q&A from earlier this month.
PC Gamer
Old Gods Resized 2

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.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Adam Smith)

I’ve played Crusader Kings II’s latest expansion and it’s packed full of exciting things that I’d like to spend at least eighty hours exploring. For pagan characters, who are the focus, there are raids, landless adventurers, river-based assaults, plunder, warbands and human sacrifices. I never found the time to play with previous Republic expansion but I am incapable of ignoring the opportunity to unify every pagan religion beneath Odin’s banner, creating a British empire that clings to the forests and the ancient ways of worship. Paradox are currently running a competition that will include the winner’s historically appropriate event in the game. Rules below.


PC Gamer
CK2 Old Gods

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.

PC Gamer

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.
PC Gamer
Old Gods Resized 2

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.

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