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CK2 Dev Diary #106 - New Succession Laws Extravaganza

Greetings, everyone.

Well then, this is going to be a long one...

The old elective succession system has been succeeded


So your cousin the Duke of Burgundy always seem to nominate the Steve ‘the drunkard’ as the next Emperor of the realm rather than your favorite quick and attractive son. This has been a common theme for a bunch of our playthroughs while having the elective succession laws active for our main titles. One of the biggest problems about this is that the other electors reasonings for their nomination decisions has been hidden away in an opaque box so you never know which electors can be influenced to see things more in your way.


This was one of the first problems we wanted to address when we decided to rework the elective succession system. So instead of just giving you a list of names in the tooltips for whom casted votes on a given candidate we made a specific interface to enable us to give you a more detailed view into the minds of the powerful electors of the realm.

Succession Laws0.PNG


After it was possible to get a better look at why the electors made their decisions we wanted to make it easier to further edit the underlying factors which governs the AI. Therefor we decided to replicate the old logic from hardcoded conditions to instead be based on a scripted system which decides various rules of how the elective succession works.

This not only enables modding of the elective succession law, we now also allow you to create any number of your own elective rules to fill the world with different electorates that play by their own criterias. Maybe you always wanted to create your own technocratic republic that is governed only by the most learned people of the realm. The party realm might only allow drunkards and hedonists to have a say in whom should be this years party host.

For the people that are more interested in exactly how this is modifiable there’s a brief rundown of the syntax used to define the elective rules here:

Code:
### Condensed syntax layout:

#<elective_law_type> = {

#    candidate_vote_score = {

#        <Weight Modifiers>

#    }

#    elector_selection = {

#        max_amount = <int>

#        <Weight Modifiers> - if max_amount is set it will pick the X amount of top scorers.

#                Negative scores are considered invalid electors - Ruler is always an elector

#    }

#    elector_vote_strength = {

#        <Weight Modifiers>

#    }

#    elector_stances = { - Intended for the elder council positions

#        <stance_name> = {

#            icon = <int>

#            <Weight Modifiers>

#        }

#    }

#    candidate_trigger = {

#        <trigger>

#    }

#}


# <Weight Modifiers> - denotes a field of an arbitrary amount of triggered value modifiers eg.

#    additive_modifier = {

#        value = -4

#        is_tribal = yes

#    }

#

# <trigger> - denotes a field of conditions that needs to be evaluate true for the trigger to be fulfilled

#

# The elector will vote for the candidate with the highest score given by candidate_vote_score

# The electors are selected from the pool of characters which get a non-negative elector_selection score until we reach the max_amount

# elector_vote_strength will determine how much weight the vote of a single elector carries

# The elector will use the elector_stance with the highest score if any are scripted

# The stances are thought to be some kind of common thought process or allegiance for a subgroup of the electors - This system is used to create the different states for how the Elders will behave in the Eldership succession law explained in detail below

In addition to these underlying code changes of the elective succession forms we also added another usage of the Conclave favors so that you now can force electors to vote in compliance with your vote for the succession of a title.

Revamped Elective Laws


The unhardcoding of Elective successions allowed us to completely rewrite the AI behavior for the existing Elective laws accessible through the base game (Feudal Elective, Elective Gavelkind, Tanistry). The various conditions to be eligible as a successor or elector under these laws have remained unchanged (although now they have been translated into moddable script), while the AI electoral behavior has been rewritten into a long list of nuanced modifiers. You can now expect Electors to take into account how much they like a candidate, how legitimate they think his claim his to the title, and how much they trust the ruler that is voting for said candidate. Age, titles, character traits, culture, religion, dynastic ties and much more are now all taken into consideration by the AI and visible to the player when using the new Electors’ Tab. The sum of all these modifiers will result in a voting score, and the potential candidate who has the highest voting score will be the one selected by the Elector in question (and since each Elector has a different personality/status/etc. different kinds of Electors will prefer different kinds of candidates).

Succession Laws1.jpg



The Electors Tab shows to the player the complete list of Electors casting their vote, who they are voting for, the reasons why they are voting for said characters as well as a comparison with the candidate score of the ruler’s preferred candidate and the reasons why they are not voting for him.

Succession Laws2.jpg


Eldership

Somewhat similar to Tanistry, Eldership prevents your title from ever falling outside a ruler’s family, restricting the choice of potential candidates to members of the ruler’s dynasty. Under Eldership, only the six oldest and most learned characters in the realm will be allowed to pick the ruler’s successor. Each Elder can hold one of three possible stances at any given time, depending on how he feels about the ruler: Displeased, Pleased, or Ecstatic.

Making sure that your Elders have a high opinion of you, giving them their preferred Council positions (Chancellor, Steward, Chaplain), or fulfilling the occasional request from them, will push them further to become Ecstatic.

20180824080508_1.jpg


An Ecstatic Elder will almost always vote for the ruler’s chosen candidate, almost never make demands, and even give the occasional piece of advice to make you a better person.

20180824080639_1.jpg


Pleased Elders will try to vote for what they consider to be good and capable candidates amongst the members of your dynasty, favoring older characters with high stewardship. They might occasionally make some demands, such as asking a ruler to give some land to a family member that they really like, but they will, for the most part, be reasonable people to deal with.

Displeased Elders on the other hand, will be much harder to deal with. Not only will they purposefully select bad candidates, they will occasionally grant claims on your title to people that they like, openly questioning their liege’s right to rule.

20180824080819_1.jpg


Holy Fury will allow the Baltic and African realms to start with Eldership as default succession law, rather than Elective Gavelkind. Additionally, other pagans can unlock this succession by picking the right Doctrine when they Reform their faith.

Princely Elective
This new variation on elective has been scripted to replace Feudal Elective for the Holy Roman Empire. This succession limits the electors to a maximum of seven (plus the ruling Emperor) and makes it so the historical titles held by the Prince-Electors are prioritized when determining the valid electors in the Empire, these titles being the Bishoprics of Mainz, Koln and Trier, and the Duchies of Bohemia, Franconia, Saxony, and Brandenburg. If an elector title does not exist or his held by the Emperor, another valid Duke will replace it (prioritizing dejure vassals of the same religion as the ruling Emperor).

20180824081547_1.jpg


Electors under Princely Elective are overall much less likely to pick candidates that are either impious or of a different religion, and Theocratic Catholic Electors have twice as much voter strength than secular Electors whenever the Empire is under Papal Investiture.

While rulers of the Holy Roman Empire can still change the realm’s succession law as usual, the faction for Elective has been made much more easily accessible and palatable for vassals of the HRE and requirements to switch away from this succession have been made more restrictive (the ruler must have Max Centralization and either Absolute Crown Authority or Abolished Council Power).

Imperial Elective
And finally, a completely new succession law has been scripted for the Byzantine (and Roman) Empire, to better represent the peculiar politics of this realm. This succession has been tied to the two titles and is now also the *only* succession law that they have available. There are several features that are unique to this succession law, so I will explain it in sections:

20180824081910_1.jpg


Successors: Potential candidates under Imperial Elective include the Emperor’s children and close family members (spouse included), any claimants to the title, the current Marshal, and any Commander under the Emperor, with mutilated characters being excluded. This is to represent the influence of the military over Byzantium and allow more historical instances of influential commanders becoming Emperors.

Imperial Court: The Emperor, all of his Councilors, and all of his Commanders are valid electors. As Byzantium was a centralized power, the Emperor will need to curry the favor of the most powerful members of his court to ensure that his dynasty continues to maintain the throne, rather than his vassals, like a Feudal ruler would.

Scaled Voting Power: And this is where things get really interesting. Imperial Elective uses to its full extent the new voter_power function of scripted elective, making sure that every elector has a different amount of influence, entirely dependent on his status in the court and his attributes. The Emperor’s vote starts out with a strength of 200 voting power, which can be further boosted by good diplomacy and martial scores, making it so that a powerful and influential Emperor will be able to push the candidate that he wants on the throne even if most of the Court is against it. Conversely, if the Emperor is not Born in the Purple, deformed or crippled, or if he has made a reputation of appointing sycophants in his court (more on that below), he will see his voting power plummet. The other Electors have their own variable voting power, tied to prestige, rank and attributes (a Steward with high stewardship is more influential than an incompetent one). As such, appointing competent people to be your councilors and commanders will not only mean that your favorite son will have to compete with more competent and palatable candidates, but also that the electors will have a greater influence over the succession. Finally, minor titles can also affect a character’s voting power, so you might want to think a bit more before giving out your Caesar and Sebastokrator spots.

20180824082114_1.jpg


Heroes and Sycophants: Is Belisarius too popular a Commander for your sons to compete with him? Well, you can always discharge him: take away his status as Commander and he will no longer be a potential candidate or an elector, problem solved. Except... when under Imperial Elective, removing a competent Commander or Councilor from his position reduces the Emperor’s voting power of an amount proportional to the competence of the character you are removing. The more competent people the Emperor pushes out of his court, the less his vote will be worth overall. Same applies whenever an Emperor appoints a commander with poor martial score while there are clearly superior choices available: the court will notice that you are appointing mediocre sycophants because you fear competition and you will see your voting power go down. Additionally, Imperial Elective prevents Emperors from appointing landless commanders for as long as potential vassals are available to take the spot. If you wish that high-martial courtier to lead your armies, you will need to give him a proper title first.

Prestige and Ageism: This is not Feudal Elective, the Empire does not care as much about family ties and character traits, it cares about placing a competent and prestigious leader upon the throne. For the Byzantine Empire, this translates to the electors tending to favor skilled high-Intrigue characters, whereas the Roman Empire electors are keener on good orators (high Diplomacy). In both Empires, the electors will always favor people that are competent at their job, that have high prestige and titles (both minor and landed). One of the most visible consequences of this is that hardly anyone under Imperial Elective will ever consider a child to be a valid successor to the throne. If you wish your son to take your place, you will have to groom him first, wait for him to become adult, then push his bid to your Empire, possibly giving him a few honorary and landed titles along the way. While he’s still a toddler, it might be more sensible for you to appoint your younger brother, or your old uncle as preferred heir, just in case something happens before the little Prince comes of age...

20180824082155_1.jpg


Strong Claim Duel
Somewhat related to all these new succession forms, we have also added a new type of duel designed to let players keep their realms together after an Elective Gavelkind succession. This Strong Claim Duel is available regardless of whether you have the War Focus active, or if you are a member of a Warrior Lodge (which is otherwise required for regular dueling). As a tribal character, with a Strong Claim on a title currently held by a tribal ruler, it will be possible to issue a challenge to the current title holder, with the requirement of your target ruler either being independent, or both of you being vassals under the same liege. Bear in mind that the stakes in these duels are high, and losing does not only mean you give up your claims - unless you have a particularly kind opponent, who loves you dearly, death is the common way out of this dispute. Winning, on the other hand, means that you take the title in question and any vassals that come with it, along with any other of their titles on which you have a Strong Claim.

If the target of your Claim Duel happens to be an AI character of your own Dynasty, losing will present players with a choice: accept your fate, or click the option to take over as the character who won the duel, and continue to play the game as the kinsman (or woman) who bested you.

Succession Laws3.jpg
 

Red Death

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Great Dev Diary! The effect of religion on Princely Succession looks like it might have the neat effect of two different groups vying for control over electors if heresies start spreading. A bit like an early reformation.

Unfortunately not, it would have required a bit of work to adapt the new succession law so that it could work for any sufficiently centralized Empire, so it was preferred to limit it just to the Roman Empires.

Still a bit disappointing, but definitely understandable. I guess I'll just have to hope it will be possible someday!

Princely Elective replaces Feudal Elective for the HRE and pseudo-HRE Empires (such as the one created in AltStart), the law should be applied when creating the Empire by decision.

Does that include the special Form HRE Decision in the 769 start? Right now, it does not set succession law to Feudal Elective.

Also, will the same list of "traditional" Princely Electors be used if you form the HRE without even holding Germany?
 

Snow Crystal

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Well, they took out the Duchy of Dalmatia, too, from the looks of recent screenshots and videos... I would prefer that the title and region my profile image and family history is based upon remains. The Dalmatian coat of arms is my favorite, as well, with its three golden lions and the blue background color. I am sorry about your favorite region. Which province was removed?

No? The Duchy of Dalmatia is still there, it is just controlled by someone with a culture that changes the name.
 

Rockphed

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Question: If I am playing a merchant republic and manage to push my claim on Byzantium, what happens? Do I change to the Imperial governement, or does the ERE become a grand principality? Playing another Venice into Byzantium game is not high on my list at the moment, but I want to know for future reference.

Other question: in the Imperial government, do I lose voting power for turning down people who think they would be better councilors and come to bug me about it?
 

IsakMiller

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Isn't this quite open for exploits though? It can turn Elective Gavelkind to something alike appointment. You can challenge your preferred candidate simply to play as them. If your preferred candidate is a bit on the weaker side when it comes to personal combat, just worship your ancestors and pluck out your eyes to even the odds.

(On the topic of taking over and continue playing as the character who just bested your ruler in a duel: )
It's a valid question, but our testing so far has not given us that impression. It is in general now also more dangerous to be a tribal ruler, as any other tribal character with a Strong Claim to your titles can challenge your rule, while you can only continue playing as your own Dynasty members, which again is a choice - you can also simply let them kill you and continue as your next heir. In addition, there is always risk to entering duels, as the outcome can rarely be completely guaranteed, and repeatedly turning these duels down will give you a negative modifier, and run the risk of setting a bad example for your court, in that some events might trigger which essentially spreads the Craven trait in your realm.

If reports were to start coming in that this is overwhelmingly OP we would probably reconsider the design, but we will basically have to wait and see for that. :)
 

Caspian Mortis

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So it would now be moddable to create a "Roman Senatorial election" law in which all people with the honorary title "Senator" are electors and thus elect the Roman Emperor (or Consul).
 

Damarrocarion

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So this shakes up the path to becoming Byzantine Emperor as a outsider quite a bit, as it seems to me now that marriage is now almost useless because regencies with women and little kiddies will be much rarer, as is going, and exploiting the faction system to force elective, and then immediately forcing yourself onto the throne. Now what you'd what to do is swear fealty and train up a dynasty of characters with high martial and high intrigue.

Well, marriage is still useful if it's stops liege from doing vassal retraction (Imp. Gov allows that based on screenshot). It might also stop the whole empire descending into civil war every succession.
 

Cyflan

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This is some really nice stuff!
Elective Monarchy was always annoying with how opaque it was, now that it's more transparent with how it works is alone an amazing change.
And making it far more effective, and moddable, is even more amazing!
 

Alratan

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I have only one problem with this, related to an old favorite of mine - making Desiderius's dream true and founding an HRE centered in Italy, usually with Burgundy. If the decision to form the HRE hasn't been changed in Holy Fury, it's entirely possible to do so without having a single German province. But let's assume that this Italy-centered HRE eventually conquers Germany: would it suddenly find itself dominated by German politics? Because it looks like quite an oversight, to be honest. Shouldn't the decision check if the HRE has been formed as the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, before making it so by default?

If it helps, I imagine this is answered in part by:

The elector titles themselves (duchies and counties) are prioritized specifically, while theocracies of the ruler's religion are prioritized in general. Valid Electors check for the Empire's dejure, for what concerns Princely Elective the seven official elector titles can indeed be vassals of vassals or not defacto under the HRE.

I interpret this to mean that if Italy, France or any other state forms the HRE by decision, the historical German electors wouldn't be part of the de jure and thus wouldn't be valid electors.

If one was able to shift them into the de jure however, that'd be a different matter, as they'd suddenly gain prominence.

To avoid this, I imagine one could quickly mod a copy of the Princely Elective law which doesn't give German prominence, and make this alternate variant given in the case of non-German HRE formation.
 

Silfae

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Would this make it even harder for Hellenism to pick up again in the Roman state? Or would you have completely different or converted electors after you win that massive civil war event?
Conversions are handled separately, I was referring specifically to the likelyhood of an elector to pick a candidate of a different religion over another.

The picture you showed is Inheritance law interface,what I mean is Realm law interface,on right of Inheritance law interface。
Ah, this one:
20181026124606_1.jpg
Nothing was changed there.

I apologise if this has already been addressed and I've not gotten that far yet but Hispania is an empire tier tital. What happens when you and empora of somewhere and then get the Byzantine or Roman empire's through any of the methods available?
If you have two Empires, each of them will have its inheritance law, so, in your example, you'd hold the Roman Empire, following Imperial Elective, and Hispania, following whichever law has been passed for that Empire, with different electors and potential candidates.

Question: If I am playing a merchant republic and manage to push my claim on Byzantium, what happens? Do I change to the Imperial governement, or does the ERE become a grand principality? Playing another Venice into Byzantium game is not high on my list at the moment, but I want to know for future reference.

Other question: in the Imperial government, do I lose voting power for turning down people who think they would be better councilors and come to bug me about it?

A Merchant Republic government takes precedence over Imperial Government, so you would not switch in that case.
No, only it only happens when a new character is appointed or removed from office, turning down a vassal's will not cause a loss in voting power.

So it would now be moddable to create a "Roman Senatorial election" law in which all people with the honorary title "Senator" are electors and thus elect the Roman Emperor (or Consul).
Yes, the new system would allow this.
 

VoodooEconomist

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I know everybody's gushing about the two empires, and justly so, but this:
In addition to these underlying code changes of the elective succession forms we also added another usage of the Conclave favors so that you now can force electors to vote in compliance with your vote for the succession of a title.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've been nagging on about this and about making electors' decisions more understandable for years and I am so happy right now! :D Fantastic news!!!
 

Asiak

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And finally, a completely new succession law has been scripted for the Byzantine (and Roman) Empire, to better represent the peculiar politics of this realm. This succession has been tied to the two titles and is now also the *only* succession law that they have available.

Are vassals still feudal?

My real question is if you secret Hellenic the Roman empire with a doctrine that allows heir designations, will it overwrite this succession law? Mix it with maybe?


It's an interesting choice that they cannot imprison characters without special cause, was this to clamp down on excommunications?

I feel like it kinda of fits them, but I also feel does it fit their autocratic nature?

Either way this is all amazing.
 

Silfae

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In regards to eldership, are there any penalties if you attack/imprison/kill/etc the elder electors?
Yes, all the other Elders will get really mad at you. Killing an Elder will likely make all other Elders Displeased for a very long time.
 

raistlin_wizard

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Well, marriage is still useful if it's stops liege from doing vassal retraction (Imp. Gov allows that based on screenshot). It might also stop the whole empire descending into civil war every succession.
From what I take what you can't is usurp kingdoms and empires, but you still can retract.
 

Alratan

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My real question is if you secret Hellenic the Roman empire with a doctrine that allows heir designations, will it overwrite this succession law? Mix it with maybe?

I think Silfae already answered this, that Heir Designation in general doesn't apply to Elective titles. Just as a Jain ruler can't use Heir Designation for Feudal Elective or Patrician Elective, a Hellenic Emperor of Byzantium couldn't use Heir Designation for the Byzantine Empire title. They could use it for any other title, though, so presumably you could make sure you always held a Kingdom which did have Heir Designation for use in emergencies/redundancy.

It's an interesting choice that they cannot imprison characters without special cause, was this to clamp down on excommunications?

Aren't excommunications a valid cause? I think this means that if in another state you would get an opinion penalty with other vassals for imprisoning without cause, you just can't do it in the Byzantine Empire. Excommunications give you a valid cause to imprison without opinion malus, therefore you can use that as a reason (unless I'm reading it wrong).
 

Chef Boyardee

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Incredible. You guys have done an amazing job with this expansion. I'm really looking forward to this. Great work.
 

Dharek

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Will it be possible to mod in 'election terms' for rulers under the Imperial government type?
 

Alratan

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As a different question, has you guys considered allowing Iqta characters to have something like Elder succession law to represent Open a bit better? You could even alter their priorities compared to normal Elder so that each title held (of higher rank) gives quite a lot of priority for the candidate.
 

Fitzjacob

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The elector titles themselves (duchies and counties) are prioritized specifically, while theocracies of the ruler's religion are prioritized in general.
So if I understand correctly, the elector titles are prioritized regardless of their government (including Mainz, Köln and Trier)? Will the game aim towards three spiritual and four secular electors? Can a single character possess multiple of these prioritized elector titles (Mainz and Franconia seems likely due to Mainz being de jure Franconia) and receive multiple votes?

Finally, is the AI aware of the importance of these titles making them actively pursue them or at the least reluctant to part with them?
 

Silfae

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Are vassals still feudal?

My real question is if you secret Hellenic the Roman empire with a doctrine that allows heir designations, will it overwrite this succession law? Mix it with maybe?
Yes, only the Emperor uses the new government form, just like it happens with Merchant Republics. Its vassals will belong to any of the other regular governments.
Imperial Elective takes precedence, just like any elective succession does. In the case of Imperial Elective, one should consider that it is in some way a more complex version of heir designation already. The Emperor's preference bears a considerable value on who is going to be the successor to the throne, especially if the Emperor is competent and has good traits. If your voting power far outweighs that of your vassals, you are able to pick whoever you like, even if nobody else likes him. The system tries to emulate the historical reality that, although the Emperor was technically in charge, if enough influential people in the court were against his preferred heir, somebody else would end up getting the throne.
Aren't excommunications a valid cause? I think this means that if in another state you would get an opinion penalty with other vassals for imprisoning without cause, you just can't do it in the Byzantine Empire. Excommunications give you a valid cause to imprison without opinion malus, therefore you can use that as a reason (unless I'm reading it wrong).
Cannot imprison without a reason is already a feature for Merchant Republics, you can expect it to work in exactly the same way for the Imperial Government.