Hello everyone! So finally we address the Elephant in the room, specifically the War Elephant in the upcoming Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India expansion.
When making an expansion based on India we simply couldn't ignore the elephantry that they fielded. These giants will help your Indian rulers to conquer and stampede over any opposition you face, being the heaviest cavalry you can field in Crusader Kings 2. These beasts of war will be mostly available from retinues but there will also be cultural buildings that will produce them for you. They will only exist in very limited numbers compared to other troop types but will have a devastating effect on the battlefield during the melee phase. The Indian general that makes sure to use his unique set of tactics available for these units will without a doubt be victorious.
We also fixed so that the Arabic cultures can field their own camel warriors to face the heathens with.
Showing off their mighty War Elephant Retinues
The old troop type system was very limiting, not allowing for a lot of creativity, and we had nowhere to place the new war elephants in the user interface, it was already over-crowded with the other troop types. So what we did was remake the Horse Archer with a fully script-able troop type known as Special Troops. These now represent Horse Archers, Camel Warriors and the mighty War Elephants. It will be even possible to field Camel Warriors and War Elephants in the same army in your grand pan Arabic-Indian Empire if you so desire. The most important thing is that now modders can utilize this to make their mods even more diverse and interesting, allowing them to add troop types ranging from Wizards to gunpowder troops.
The breakdown of special troops, everything is quite similar to
before except for the numbering of the horse archers.
What is the actual difference for the modders from the previous system then? Well Korbah made an excellent diagram he posted on the beta forum which I am going to borrow from him.
Previously the troop types were hard-coded in place which gave very little option with what you could actually do with them. Each regiment always had six entries: Light Infantry, Heavy Infantry, Archers, Pikemen, Light Cavalry, Heavy Cavalry and Horse Archers. This meant an army would always consist of a composition of these troop types. The new system removes the Horse Archers and replaces it with the special troop type, meaning it can be anything and every regiment can have a different composition of troop types and still function as a unified army. The only limit on this is that a regiment can only have one special troop type, so one holding can not produce several different special troop types and mercenaries and retinues can only have one special troop type assigned to them.
With the India expansion the world grows immensely giving us a good opportunity to add some common tactical problems that commanders of the time faced. First we gave the Indian subcontinent the jungle terrain type which will harshly increase your attrition and defense bonuses. But the other problem is supplies, it won't be a simple task to just walk across all of Europe with every single soldier you started with alive. You will now have to combat starvation as you march far away from your home. This means that Norse Vikings armies will have starved to death before even reaching India.
How it works is that while you are nearby your realm or your top-liege's realm your soldiers will fill up on supplies to keep themselves fed. These supplies will always last for 31 days. When they step too far away into neutral territory they will start to starve for supplies and have a ticking attrition that goes up slowly for each day. A good martial leader can of course counter-act it to a certain point. When you do finally reach the enemy territory, the troops will start foraging from their surrounding area to keep themselves supplied. The foraging builds on the pillaging from the loot bar except it goes a lot slower. When the soldiers can't take more from the loot bar they will start to starve again in 31 days. This will balance the rulers of Europe to invade their neighbors instead of happily jump over the Egypt and start carving their piece of India. Instead they will have to put a bit effort into it if they want to actually reach India.
So yes we will see a Norse India eventually, but it will be quite an achievement.
There has been some big issues with what people have dubbed "North Korea Mode", making the game way too easy to play and removing the entire feudal point of the game. So we have made playing this way a lot less rewarding by reducing the amount of levies and income they actually get from doing this. It is of course still completely possible to play like this if you still want to, but you will be a bankrupt France with only 400 troops while the strong HRE will be raising a lot more troops than that. Small counts and dukes who go over their demense limit just a little bit will be a bit penalized but not to the same degree.
Bonus: Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India Interview with Project Lead Henrik Fahraeus