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Thread: Magna Mundi Developer's Diary #21: Chinese Tributary System

  1. #21
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    Will the system crumble once I wipe out Ming or can other country replace it as regional hegemon? Maybe only Qing?

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by ubik View Post
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  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Sjiveru View Post
    EDIT: Is it possible for a nation to try and deal with China on equal terms? Surely the Chinese would be insulted, but I'd be curious to see how it would work out.
    Making China that upholds a tributary system unapproachable on equal terms is the plan, but that depends on how the game's overall diplomacy gets revamped.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thistletooth View Post
    As for the system itself, it looks like it could be interesting, but I still don't get it. Why should Ayutthaya pay regular tribute to the Ming? Does it give them the equivalent of a Trade Agreement? A boost to their economy, or to their prestige? Or does the benefit come from what may befall them if they cease payment?
    You're right on all accounts, but not literally. For example, tributary status does not give you an equivalent of Trade Agreement, but rather is a guarantee to send your merchants to Chinese CoT's. Otherwise your merchants will be randomly kicked out or, in the worst case, you will be blamed for supporting smuggling activities, precluding you from paying tribute for some time.

    Maintaining high Tributary Trust will preclude DOW from Chinese or tributary side, and that's perhaps something that can be elaborated on later when a DD on war (not warfare) comes out.
    Ultimately, whether or not to pay tribute comes down to what you want out of it. As Korea, preventing any possibility of war with its only powerful neighbor state might be a good reason to continue payment; for distant and not-so-rich countries like Ryukyu, access to additional CoT's will a vital asset. Note also that paying tribute may not necessarily drain your treasury. Depending on how you take advantage of rewards from China (you can choose what to do with it later), you can get what you can't "buy" otherwise, such as increased Trade Efficiency.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thistletooth View Post
    Also, what's going to happen if one of the states involved gets into internal duress? What if Korea, or China itself, is wracked by a civil war? Would that affect this system?
    There's nothing that mandates involvement with either side in either of the cases.

    Quote Originally Posted by RhoDaZZ View Post
    I wonder about the amount of tribute though...will it actually give coin or only prestige? And if only few are paying tribute more than once every 3 years, will tribute (both large and small) have a noticeable impact on China's and the "tributaries" capabilities (i.e no bankruptcy cycles of Ryukyu?).
    Amount of tribute will be decided on a number of factors, including your yearly income size, Merchant faction strength, availability of high value trade goods, distance, etc. Ryukyu won't be paying a lot of money as long as it has merchants in Malacca's CoT (counts as having access to high value trade goods) and Merchant faction has some strength.

    As for China, the more tribute is received, the more expenditure. This will be handled indirectly, as opposed to losing money every time it receives tribute. As a general rule, the more the tribute sum, the higher prestige boost but more penalty on national income.

    Quote Originally Posted by RhoDaZZ View Post
    And along the lines of what Thistletooth said, what are the possibilities of breaking out from tribute completely (and the consequences)? Also, if a player hypothetically manages to expand China's influence to India (say via Tibet or Assam), will it be possible to have the Indian principalities pay tribute?
    A tributary will be more and more expected to stay in the system as its status goes up - so Known Tributaries have the least "obligation", but China will expect much more from Confucian States.

    What makes the tributary system different from the HRE or the Japanese Shogunate is that there is very little support in maintaining the status quo. This means that there's not as many incentives to help/punish its members as either of those systems, but at the same time not as many penalties for not doing so.
    So refusing to pay tribute and eventually dropping out of the tributary system will be possible any time, but a savvy player playing as China, provided China itself is stable and has a capable administration, will be able to send out a few warnings to tributaries that are failing to play by the rule.


    To send a tributary mission to China, a country needs to neighbor China or neighbor a state that neighbors China (you need to be at peace with that country), or have a port and any Chinese province is within its naval range. So Indian states could become eligible here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arizael View Post
    The diary seems great - I hope that it will limit China in invading it´s neighbours significantly (and thus no Ming Black sea like in EU). However what will focre(motivate) let´s say Japanese minor to pay the tribute?
    Japanese minors won't be able to pay tribute on their own. The Ashikaga clan, as the Shogun clan, is the only clan that can send tributary missions on their own, and Japan has some special rules for it. Japanese minors will be able to acquire "Chinese trading rights," so to speak, once the Shogunate's authority is low enough. Limited quantity, of course.
    Last edited by Ese Khan; 06-08-2011 at 17:43.
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  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by myLAAN View Post
    Will the system crumble once I wipe out Ming or can other country replace it as regional hegemon? Maybe only Qing?
    When a new unified China is formed, that country will have a choice to establish a tributary system. Qing can do this too.
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  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ese Khan View Post
    When a new unified China is formed, that country will have a choice to establish a tributary system. Qing can do this too.
    Regarding to this, will it be possible to abbandon the tributary system at any time and make some kind of "Westernisation" ?

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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inner Circle View Post
    Regarding to this, will it be possible to abbandon the tributary system at any time and make some kind of "Westernisation" ?
    Any "westernization" (whatever you mean by that) has nothing to do with the tributary system.
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  7. #27
    I don't quite understand the DD, although it looks interesting. But, could you explain the basics, for us who have no idea what the Chinese tributary system is? Because, I think I am not the only one that's a bit lost.

    China's neighbors, and neighbors' neighbors can pay tribute to China. That tribute is deducted from its income. China gets increased expenditures as it receives tribute - why is that?

    Why does a state pay tribute to China? In order to be able to trade in Chinese COTs? In order to be able to have any kind of relation with China? As a blackmail, so that China will not attack them? Increase in prestige from association with China? What's the relation of all this with the country's merchant faction, which was also mentioned?

    What does China get from that tribute? It says that it gets increased expenditures because of it. That seems negative. What's the positive side, or sides?

    What are those levels - known tributaries, enfeoffed states, Confucian states? What's the benefit/cost of being in those groups? How do you move between the categories?

    What's the funcition of Trust, what are its costs/benefits to China and to the tributary states? How do you move up and down in trust?

    Could you explain the last table - the one with three columns, and designations such as High, Medium, Very Low, Quota, No restriction, once in 3/5 years, etc? What are those designations, what are the different columns?

  8. #28
    Field Marshal Cybvep's Avatar

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    Let's say that China gets invaded by a powerful country (or countries) and losses much of its land/army/prestige/stability. Will it affect the system?

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ese Khan View Post
    When a new unified China is formed, that country will have a choice to establish a tributary system. Qing can do this too.
    Wouldn't being a powerful Confucianist monarch suffice? I mean, it's obvious that if a Dai Viet ruler became so powerful to overcome China IRL, he would simply ascend on the throne of former Huangdi and become the new Son of Heaven. However, this tradition is rooted in the Confucian faith and so is not explicitly China-specific (although it's apparent that Confucius never even imagined that Son of Heaven wouldn't be Chinese) so there should be thoretically a possibility to not be China and still receive tribute. It's not like it's very important to implement it but it could be a nice goal for smaller Confucianist countries.

  10. #30
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    I really like the porcelain-looking interface. The system looks pretty interesting but left me a bit confused.

    Ese Khan, what I've understood by your last post is that a local country reaching some kind of "unified China" status is related to that country being able to form the tributary system.

    So it seems that Ming has that status?
    If Qing beats Ming how does it become China?

    Or short version,
    What do you mean by "unified China" ? Or what is the relation between "Ming" (the country we see in game as well as the ruling dinasty irl) and "China"?

  11. #31
    Thanks, Ese Khan for your later explanatory posts, they are very useful additions.
    Still a few questions, though I might just have missed the answers.
    1) In the last screen, what do the three columns represent? The last is obvious regularity of tribute, but I do not understand the other two.
    2) What makes states go from "known tributaries" to "enfeoffed states" to "confusian states"? Does the drive to raise in the ranks come from the tributaries (due to incentives given to the tributaries) or from China (via active effort on their part). Is there also movement downwards within the ranks?


    Edit: Another question about the naming of the categories, is the defining feature of the 'confusian states' they need to be confusian? Does this mean an emphasis is placed on the religious aspect of the tributary nation, or is it more an indication of cultural similarity?
    Last edited by Romtos; 06-08-2011 at 23:30.

  12. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Inner Circle View Post
    Regarding to this, will it be possible to abbandon the tributary system at any time and make some kind of "Westernisation" ?
    Like Ubik said, there's no Westernization in the game, just as it wasn't in the mod.

    But China would indeed have to modernize a bit and meet a few more conditions to undo the tributary system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiawata View Post
    But, could you explain the basics, for us who have no idea what the Chinese tributary system is? Because, I think I am not the only one that's a bit lost.
    I'll compile FAQ's tomorrow!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiawata View Post
    China's neighbors, and neighbors' neighbors can pay tribute to China. That tribute is deducted from its income. China gets increased expenditures as it receives tribute - why is that?
    The idea is that China paid for foreign tributary missions' expenses and rewarded them with Chinese products for bringing foreign products (China even gave ships to Ryukyu). This was a show off, so to speak, on China's part, intended to demonstrate China's richness. Such trade did not necessarily disadvantage foreign states, though, because a) a state could have offered rare foreign products that it imported b) luxurious products may have been very common in that foreign state. In the game, this is represented by the fact that a country with high value trade items or merchants in high value CoT's pays less for sending tributary missions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiawata View Post
    Why does a state pay tribute to China? In order to be able to trade in Chinese COTs? In order to be able to have any kind of relation with China? As a blackmail, so that China will not attack them? Increase in prestige from association with China? What's the relation of all this with the country's merchant faction, which was also mentioned?
    Any one of the reasons you mentioned is a good reason, actually. A state just has to decide to play by the Chinese diplomatic norms in order to get what it wants, whether it be diplomatic leverage ("we are both Chinese tributaries, so stop messing with me" or "I've been loyal to the Chinese emperor, so you can't attack me China"), or access to Chinese CoT's.

    As for the merchant faction, a strong merchant faction will guarantee that you'll be able to take advantage of Chinese trade or products, which translates into higher trade knolwedge breakthrough chance or higher trade income, respecitvely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiawata View Post
    What does China get from that tribute? It says that it gets increased expenditures because of it. That seems negative. What's the positive side, or sides?
    China gets additional prestige, trade efficiency (being the Chinese suzerain adds trade efficiency penalty, so this bonus negates that penalty), etc. at the expense of less national income.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiawata View Post
    What are those levels - known tributaries, enfeoffed states, Confucian states? What's the benefit/cost of being in those groups? How do you move between the categories?
    Known Tributaries - those states that have paid tribute in the current or the past reign but did not ask for Chinese recognization of their rule

    Enfeoffed States - those states whose rulers have been recognized as kings by China.

    Confucian States - those states whose rulers have been recognized as kings by China and adhere to the Confucian social and diplomatic principles (state religion is Confucianism)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiawata View Post
    What's the funcition of Trust, what are its costs/benefits to China and to the tributary states? How do you move up and down in trust?
    Quite similar to Shogun Trust in the Bakufu system. You get to ask more favors and favorable treatment from China if the value is high, and lower value means you could be declared a traitorous state if you do something wrong to China.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiawata View Post
    Could you explain the last table - the one with three columns, and designations such as High, Medium, Very Low, Quota, No restriction, once in 3/5 years, etc? What are those designations, what are the different columns?
    High, Medium, Very Low, etc. - Tributary Trust

    Quota/No restriction - whether China imposed quota on the size of tributary mission. You can place quota if either the tributary in question has low Tributary Trust ("you haven't been loyal, so you get to send less) or high ("you've proven your loyalty now, you don't have to send as many any more). When there's a quota, China receives less tribute, and hence less pressure on the treasury.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cybvep View Post
    Let's say that China gets invaded by a powerful country (or countries) and losses much of its land/army/prestige/stability. Will it affect the system?
    Not immediately, because whether China can enforce the status quo depends exclusively on its willingness and ability to do so. If its military gets weaker or the country is in chaos, it will be more difficult to act, and it will consequently be easier for other states, whether or not tributaries themselves, to conquer or subjugate tributary states one by one.

    But the system itself will continue to function.

    Quote Originally Posted by myLAAN View Post
    Wouldn't being a powerful Confucianist monarch suffice? I mean, it's obvious that if a Dai Viet ruler became so powerful to overcome China IRL, he would simply ascend on the throne of former Huangdi and become the new Son of Heaven.
    I didn't think of it that way because I see the tributary system connected with the concept of Zhonghua ("Central Civilization" sounds like a good translation to me), which holds that the farther away a people is from China, the center of the civilization, the more barbaric that people is. Its application, though, gradually transformed to include formerly barbaric areas like southern China, but these areas came under direct Chinese control before becoming parts of the civilization. According to this logic, Confucian states can't be true Zhonghua because, even though adopting Chinese alphabets and Confucianism make them much less barbaric than those that don't, they still aren't truly parts of Zhonghua.

    Historically, I would say the only way for a foreign state to become Zhonghua was by conquering (all, even) areas considered to be Zhonghua and assimilating themselves into the Chinese culture. This was the case with the ruling family of the Tang, Northern Wei, etc., whose lineage was far from what would have been seen as "native" Chinese.

    So what I added as requirements for declaring a tributary system is to make it available only to a country that unified China and adopted Confucianism as the state religion.
    (More specifically, a country that unifies China will get mandate_of_heaven country flag, which will be lost from the old "China". This will be used as an indication of a country's eligibility to declaring the tributary system)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nombre View Post
    Ese Khan, what I've understood by your last post is that a local country reaching some kind of "unified China" status is related to that country being able to form the tributary system.

    So it seems that Ming has that status?
    If Qing beats Ming how does it become China?
    See my response above.

    I intend to make Qing available to more states than just Altaic culture group states, which was one of the conditions in the mod. Not all countries will be able to form Qing, obviously (England?! )

    Yes, Ming starts out with the suzerain status.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nombre View Post
    Or short version,
    What do you mean by "unified China" ? Or what is the relation between "Ming" (the country we see in game as well as the ruling dinasty irl) and "China"?
    See my response to myLAAN.

    Quote Originally Posted by Romtos View Post
    Thanks, Ese Khan for your later explanatory posts, they are very useful additions.
    Still a few questions, though I might just have missed the answers.
    1) In the last screen, what do the three columns represent? The last is obvious regularity of tribute, but I do not understand the other two.
    2) What makes states go from "known tributaries" to "enfeoffed states" to "confusian states"? Does the drive to raise in the ranks come from the tributaries (due to incentives given to the tributaries) or from China (via active effort on their part). Is there also movement downwards within the ranks?
    See my response to Hiawata.

    Asking for enfeoffment will come from tributaries themselves. Enfeoffed status will be lost upon monarch death, but as long as you request for Chinese conferment within a reasonable time, China will recognize the successor without additional process. Confucian States are exempt from this (in the early stage this wasn't the case, but it made them less special so I took it out).
    Last edited by Ese Khan; 06-08-2011 at 23:49. Reason: or and and means two different things
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  13. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Romtos View Post
    Edit: Another question about the naming of the categories, is the defining feature of the 'confusian states' they need to be confusian? Does this mean an emphasis is placed on the religious aspect of the tributary nation, or is it more an indication of cultural similarity?
    Short version: Enfeoffed state + you just changed your state religion to Confucianism = event notifying China that one more country has been enlightened, giving you the Confucian State status.
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  14. #34
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    Does unifying China simply means conquering all provinces that it's constituted of or do you also need to click an "I am China" tag-switching decision after you conquered all of it? The former is what I envisioned as that nice touch but the latter is actually based on how it historically worked.

  15. #35
    Ese Khan, thanks for all the answers! Things are much clearer now.

    But, I believe one question still remains unclear to me - what are the positive/negative sides of being a "known tributary", "enfeoffed state" and "confucian state"? If you "progress", I suppose you get better relations with China? Lesser chance of being attacked by China? More trust? More trade? You need to send less tributes? What do you lose by "progressing"? Can't attack other tributary states? Greater diplomatic penalties when you do not fufill something that China is asking for?

  16. #36
    What happens if China converts to another religion? I once saw them convert (I am not sure why they did, mind you) to Buddhism, and it would be off-putting to see states of a different religion get a benefit for being so.

    Also, is it possible for Europeans (or powerful Indians/Muslims) to meddle with this situation? A tributary that switches payment to another master might be able to afford to scorn China if that master is powerful enough.

  17. #37
    Thanks Ese Khan for you answers.

  18. #38
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    Amazing!
    Since Enfeoffed state/Confucian state is at least in nomine vassel of China, will the celestial empire itself have to protect tributaries?
    And as mentioned, the middle empire may warn those who refuse to play by the rule, is there any further details?
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  19. #39
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    This is one special game, even before release it will shape the face of games to come (hopefully!)
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    This looks beautiful!
    It serves the function of China during the period very well (I have studied under one of the foremost Chinese history professors, so I have some knowledge).
    I do hope, however, that with the coming of the Westerners to China, there will be mechanics to get through force what can be gained through playing nice and submitting to the tributary system (i.e. Chinese markets).
    I'm not sure this system will be perfectly agile if the game allows for simulation of a fractured China. During periods of Chinese history (admittedly outside of this frame for the most part, such as the Song dynasty), China was divided among two or more powerful 'Emperors' all claiming to be Son of Heaven. I think it could add a lot to this system if the possibility existed for there to be two Chinas, each with their own 'sphere' of tributary states. Korea, for example, could support a powerful southern dynasty to reduce the power of any sort of Manchu/Qing situation, or choose to pay tribute to the northern Manchu/Qing dynasty for their own safety. Just an idea, I hope you find it interesting whether you use it or not. Once again, the system looks wonderful.

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