Well folks, we're coming up on Christmas and, according to some, the end of the world.
But in the event that the world is still around on January 14,
I might as well start writing this dev diary on the next expansion for Crusader Kings II; a little thing we call The Republic.
The expansion will make the great Merchant Republics playable; Venice, Genoa, Pisa, Gotland and the Hansa. What about Novgorod, Florence and Cordoba you ask? Bruges and the "Vier Leden"? The lesser Italian republics? The short answer is that they did not quite qualify. Some of them were not really mercantile in nature, some were more or less ruled by a princely family, others were landlocked, and the rest were too minor. Instead, we chose to focus on the big five (though new ones can appear during the game.)
Now, we did not want to mess with the Dynasty based gameplay that makes Crusader Kings II unique, so rather than playing a succession of Doges from various different merchant families (like in Europa Universalis III), you will be the head of one such family - a Patrician. For simplicity's sake, the Merchant Republics (much like New York) are run by five families who take turns at being Godfather - I mean Doge. This is rather similar to how Elective Monarchies work in the game; if you lose an election, you can still keep playing though you no longer control the entire republic.
Patricians have a special land holding called the Family Palace, which does not exist on the map but grants them a decent levy and tax income even without being proper rulers. In fact, players should not expect to hold the Doge position for several consecutive terms (more on that in a later dev diary.) The Family Palace can be upgraded like any normal Holding (castles, cities and temples), but it should not be understood as just a single physical building; rather, it represents a range of assets controlled by the family. Thus, it cannot be occupied or otherwise interfered with by your enemies.
While Patricians have a bourgeois background and are not proper members of the nobility, they are still important players in European medieval politics. Thus, they can secure alliances through marriage just like feudal lords. However, they cannot marry matrilineally and any marriage proposals made to the nobility must be accompanied by an appropriate bride price, which can be pretty steep. Moreover, children born to such couples can not inherit both the Patrician holdings and a feudal domain. What tends to happen is that one child becomes a lord and another takes over as Patrician (although Patricians are limited to Agnatic Seniority succession, so it's more likely an older relative becomes the next Patrician.)
So what makes playing a Patrician really different from playing a feudal lord? That's a subject for next time! Until then, I wish you all a really
And here is a Crusader Kings II: The Republic Video Devdiary for you
Web page: http://www.crusaderkings.com