So back in the HTTT days, some of my favorite nations to play were the Central Asian hordes. Succession crises were annoying, but they just added a challenge.
Then when Divine Wind rolled around Paradox decided to change them from challenging to unplayable, making them nations fit only for colonization. At first I set out to simply roll back things to HTTT days for horde purposes, but on the other hand, a nomad tech group made *sense*. And then I got to modding. And found more things to alter. And didn't stop until 1:26 AM.
And then months later I found a way to work hordes (occupied revolt risk to 3 instead of 1, tribute to 100 instead of 50 in defines.txt) came back and finished my old changes.
Also, note for future reference ('cause I'm guilty of not checking these forums as often as I should) that you should feel free to incorporate any of this work into mods of your own. Would like credit and notification, but don't feel like you need to wait for a response on notifying: I have a habit of not checking the forums when I'm not on a grand strategy kick.
New version at http://www.mediafire.com/?otdccricd9ondhe, old, lite version at the bottom. New version is for 5.1 final only, I think - I modded defines and static modifiers, so that usually screws things up with earlier versions.
Version 2.1: Bugfixes. Sorry for not maintaining this better.
I think I figured out how to work the horde system, so hordes are back! How? Tribute. If tribute is set to 100% instead of 50%, the AI will only refuse peace when they actually want to colonize you. And don't think you can colonize without stationing an army there - occupied provinces gain revolt risk at three times the rate of vanilla. The earlier, horde-free version will remain up for those interested.
History! Lots of history. The three Kazakh juz, Kalmykia, Khoshuts, Nogai migrations, and I might have forgot to mention something.
But don't think the starting situation hasn't changed either. Oirats get their own culture - they didn't get along that well with the Mongols, after all. Everything west of Moghulistan starts as shamanist, but you can't just annex shamanists like they're Aztecs anymore. (Yeah there are knock-on effects in North America. GOOD ONES.) There are decisions to convert, though, if they plunder enough that shamanism ceases to be the majority religion. Kazakhstan and Nogai given to the Golden Horde. GH gets cores on Kazan and Astrakhan, but will have to deal with 50 years of rebels in Sibir, Kazakhstan, Nogai, and the Crimea. Jurchens divided in three - thanks chatnoir! All three are steppe hordes, but the Jalayirids are sedentary again, to save Arabia from anachronistic plundering.
VERSION 0.21 (though really more of a version 1):
1) Manchu now in Altaic culture group (East Asian is a silly group to begin with, and although their language might not be related, the other nomads all are) and have knowledge of Korea and sea zones.
2) Horde forcelimit bonus reduced to 0.75. Hopefully this will keep inflation and blobbing in check a bit (the Qara Koyunlu got ridiculous in a test game of mine from 1453) while keeping them able to stand up to the sedentary states.
- Nomads now tech at 0.6, not 0.1. Their government form doesn't have a technology malus, either. (It might be overpowered now for players. Haven't played any long games yet. On the other hand, TSCs are NASTY.) I chose this speed because it put them above India (which did end up conquered by the Mughals) and China (likewise with the Manchu) but below Muslims and Eastern Orthodox. They have units, too - excellent cavalry, weak infantry, all copypasted from other units and the names changed. No descriptions, because central asian military history is not my strong suit.
2) The Manchu and Jalayirids are now nomads, as are all the altaic culture-group nations which appear after 1399. Steppe nomad is valid for new governments, too, although if it appears outside the actual steppe I wrote an event to switch them to tribal despotisms.
3) The DW horde system is gone. I liked the concept, but the AI was prone to perpetually occupy nomad lands instead of accepting tribute, so I had to axe it.
4) The Qasim Khanate and Zaporozhian Host now have their historic cultures (Tatar and Ruthenian, respectively) instead of the cultures of the provinces they form in. This might make them never form and only occur from late start dates, but the alternative was sillier.
5) Remember the Golden Horde, that unified Tatar nation-state which rampaged across Europe and Persia and the like? Well, don't. Historically they were in perpetual anarchy in the timeframe and made the Timurids look stable before they fell apart. Consequently, Crimea and Kazan now have cores and state cultures (Crimean Tartar and Volga Bulgarian) and the GH has twelve or so non-core provinces for a lot of TSC fun! Overcome the challenge of holding the horde together, instead of just having a pretender and new provinces rise whenever the Khan passes away.
6) Included is a decision I wrote a while ago to restore the Mongol Empire. It requires owning the major steppe capitals while still being a horde. Gives you a lot of cores and (if you didn't form it as them) changes your tag to the Mongol Khanate.
I hope you enjoy this mod. If you have any suggestions for overhauling the steppe, either for historical accuracy or game balance, I welcome them; if I had more knowledge and flags I wouldn't mind making this region as detailed as the HRE.