New week, new dev diary! This time, I am going to talk of the new religions and their intricacies. As I mentioned last week, there is now a new Indian religion group with three religions; Hindu, Buddhist and Jain. What you get when you buy Rajas of India is the ability to play as a ruler of one of these religions, with all the associated mechanics.
The general idea with all three Indian religions is that they are pluralistic and tolerant, especially toward each other. Thus, none of them have any heresies to worry about. Instead, low religion authority will cause various negative events to fire, much in the same way that having negative money does. This tolerance is also reflected in province revolt risk and vassals' opinions of their lieges. Instead of heresies, characters may belong to an accepted branch of their religion. Thus, for example, a Hindu can be a Shaivist, Shaktist or one of several other denominations. This is a character trait. It is also possible to pick a specific patron god for various bonuses.
Characters of all three religions can take one wife only, but are allowed concubines, like pagans and Zoroastrians. Another great thing about the Indian religions is that they allow the designation of a favorite child as heir, regardless of the specific succession law (though abiding by the gender preference law, of course.) Lastly, and quite importantly, it's possible for players to switch between the three Indian religions (tentatively, once per lifetime at a steep Piety cost) in order to take advantage of their special mechanics when needed. Right, so those are most of the major commonalities. Of course, there are also some similarities in the kinds of events that characters of all three religions tend to get (but I'm saving that for a later dev diary!)
Hinduism is the most warlike of the three; Hindu rulers have access to the normal Holy War casus belli. In addition, they are allowed to raid neighboring provinces of non-Indian religions. Hindus, however, also need to deal with the caste system. All Hindus can be born into one of the three castes that we represent in the game; Brahmin, Kshatriya, or Vaishya. This is represented as a character trait. Priests are expected to be Brahmins, feudal rulers Kshatriyas and burghers Vaishyas. Marrying into the wrong caste - or worse - being the wrong caste, gives serious opinion penalties with other Hindus. Children born to mixed caste parents will get the lower of the two. Characters with no caste at all are the lowest of all - the untouchables. This system limits your marriage options and tends to cause strife in your realm. It is possible to get a higher caste trait through a special decision, but it is hard and costly.
Buddhists are represented as the most philosophically minded of the Indian religions. (While perhaps not entirely fair, they were historically known for their huge universities and libraries.) They don't have to worry about caste, but rulers who ever plan to switch to Hinduism might still want to take heed of it. Buddhists cannot raid and their Holy War CB is less powerful (currently, counties instead of duchies), but they do get a great bonus to Learning, meaning that they will have unmatched long-term technological progress - if they can survive...
Finally, we have Jainism, which is probably the most peaceful religion on the planet. For Jains, the concept of Ahimsa - non-violence - is the cornerstone of their faith. Thus, Jains do not have any kind of Holy War CB, and violent acts have more serious repercussions on Piety (called Karma for the Indian religions) and opinions. Too limiting? Perhaps, but there are some serious benefits as well; Jains can have much bigger demesnes, get a flat opinion bonus from their vassals, and basically don't have to worry about provincial revolts (though the effect is less on characters and provinces of non-Indian faiths.)
That's a brief summary of the new mechanics, but I should mention that although the information I've outlined above is true in the current build, it might change quite a lot for balance reasons. For example, it's rather tricky to make the three Indian religions equally beneficial, only suitable for different circumstances and play styles.
That's all for now. Until next week, folks!
(Regrettably, I have no relevant screenshots for you this time since a lot of the graphics is still missing. The ones I do have are of the de jure map modes in India, as promised.)