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CK3 Dev Diary #11 - Seduction, Torture and the Intrigue Perk Trees

Welcome and welcome back to all!

This week I’m here to tell you all more about Intrigue: it's not just an act, it's a Lifestyle.

As covered in a previous dev diary, each character Skill has a Lifestyle, and each Lifestyle has three associated Focuses and three Perk trees, which is what we'll be diving into today.

Keep in mind that all values listed below are subject to change!

For Intrigue, the three focuses are:

Intrigue Lifestyle Focuses.PNG

[Skulduggery Focus — Agent Acceptance: +10, Intrigue: +3]
[Temptation Focus — Fertility: +25%, Attraction Opinion: 10, Seduction Scheme Power: +20%]
[Intimidation Focus — Intrigue: +2, Dread Gain: +10%, Natural Dread: +20]

Each perk tree — Schemer, Seducer, and Torturer — concludes with the unlocking of its namesake trait. I know this might be an insurmountable challenge, but feel free to guess which is which:
intrigue lifestyle traits.png

(Ah, is there any greater torture than the desires of the heart...)

I'll also be running down the effects of every unlockable perk that leads to those, and I'm naturally going to start by talking about the Temptation focus, that eternal vice, and the Seducer tree, but first I want to describe its closely related Seduce Scheme.

The Seduce Scheme

Seduction is a little more complicated than it was in CK2, with factors such as the target's personal preferences playing a larger part. Indeed, Scheme Power is not merely affected by your Intrigue, but who you are, and who they are.

That also means that you have to be a little careful. If a target gets annoyed rather than enticed, and you suffer a Critical Failure, they may give you a hard rejection - preventing you from attempting to Seduce them again - or even publicly out you as the lecherous villain you are!

Seduction Rejection.PNG.png

The Seducer Tree

So how will the Seduce tree help you? A few Perks offer straightforward bonuses by increasing your Scheme Power or making you more attractive to those of an appropriate gender and sexuality.

enticing opportunity tt.PNG

[Enticing Opportunity — Seduction Scheme Power: +30%]

smooth operator tt.PNG

[Smooth Operator — Seduction Scheme Success Chance: +25%]

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[Home Advantage — Seduction Scheme Success Chance against own Courtiers and Guests: +50%]

Others may expand your pool of... available targets.

subtle desire tt.PNG

[Subtle Desire — Removes the Incestuous penalty from your Seduction Schemes]

Just to be clear, this affects the Scheme, not the relationship. If you're caught getting too close to family, you will still suffer consequences.

Similarly, if you find your own sexual preferences getting in the way of who you can Seduce efficiently, there are ways you can overcome that:

unshackled lust tt.PNG

[Unshackled Lust — Removes your attraction penalties in Seduction Schemes]
(There’s no way of overcoming your target’s sexual preferences, though. I’m sorry, but your liege is Just Not That Into You.)

There are perks to help a different kind of “effectiveness” in your Seduce Schemes:

like weeds in a garden tt.PNG

[Like Weeds in a Garden — Fertility: +30%]

And perks to mitigate the consequences of messing up:

graceful recovery tt.PNG

[Graceful Recovery — You can no longer Critically Fail Seduction Schemes]

Ah, the number of times I have desperately needed the Graceful Recovery perk...

Bringing a Lover to your court doesn’t come entirely risk-free, of course, so we also have a Perk to minimise the risk to you, at the unfortunate cost of maximising the risk for them:

Mortal adoration tt.PNG

[Mortal Adoration — Your Lovers are less likely to join Murder Schemes against you. Lovers are more likely to save you in case of attempted Murders.]

What can I say? Not every love story has a happy ending.

The final perk in the tree is the one that grants you the Seducer trait. It comes with increases to Intrigue, Fertility, and a hefty boost to Attraction Opinion for anyone who finds themselves unfortunate enough to be of the relevant sexual orientation. Rulers of the world, lock up your wives! And husbands! And family members! Maybe also yourself for good measure!


Of course, Intrigue does not merely embody pleasure, but also pain. I'm happy to announce that the fan-favourite of "Torture" is going to be making a return for CK3.

What is it good for? Well, being Dreadful, for one thing, making your vassals fear you. Another benefit is the possibility that a victim will try to bribe you with Secrets to get you to stop. You're going to need those Secrets for leverage anyways, since the victim's family will hold you in utter disdain. Being an avid torturer also comes with a Piety penalty and a loss of Clergy opinion (unless your Faith happens to make exceptions for this kind of thing…).

torture interaction.jpg

The Torturer Tree

Now, we wouldn't let you take the pliers to flesh without giving you a way of getting really good at it, would we? The Torturer tree is all about making your vassals and peasants fear whatever might be going on in your dungeons! Or in your throne room. Or in your presence in general.

It has a series of Dread-increasing effects, as well as adding bonuses to various sources of dread.

dreadful tt.PNG

[Dreadful — Dread Gain: +30%]

divine retribution.PNG

[Divine Retribution — You do not lose Piety or Clergy Opinion from Torturing or Executing others]

prison-feudal complex tt.PNG

[Prison-Feudal Complex — Imprison Chance: +50%]

And of course there are ways of making sure you keep that hard-earned Dread for as long as possible:

forever infamous tt.PNG

[Forever Infamous — Dread Decay: -100%]

Of course, once you start "going off the rails" (as my fellow developers assure me my playstyle should be described as) you need to make sure that it doesn't go unnoticed. Keep the faint of heart in line, and all that.

malice implicit tt.PNG

[Malice Implicit — Dread Gain Per Tyranny: +0.5]

It’s not all about Dread, however. Intimate familiarity with human anatomy can help in other ways, too:

dark insights tt.PNG

[Dark Insights — When you Torture someone: 50% chance to gain either 1 Intrigue or 1 Prowess]

While it’s not a relief for Stress per se (unless you’re particularly sadistic), the Perk tree offers additional side benefits for your poor coping methods:

thriving in chaos tt.PNG

[Thriving in Chaos — Martial and Intrigue Per Stress Level: +1. Prowess Per Stress Level: +2]

Dread (and the actions that give it) is quite powerful on its own, offering alternative ways of controlling your vassals, but what if we could make it even better?

fear tax tt.PNG

[Fear Tax — Increased tax and levy contributions from Intimidated and Cowed vassals]

The last Perk in the tree grants the Torturer trait, which offers a slight Levy and Prowess boost, along with an additional improvement to your Dread gain. This will allow you to keep your Dread exceptionally high as you imprison, revoke, torture and execute to your heart’s content.

The Schemer Tree

Some of you out there are less bombastic in your methods, which brings us to our last tree for this diary. Skulduggery rules the shadows, keeping potential threats in line by more subtle tricks.

It provides a number of different bonuses to your Hostile Schemes, and to your Spymaster’s tasks:

swift execution tt.PNG

[Swift Execution — Murder Scheme Power: +30%]

a job done right.PNG

[A Job Done Right — Hostile Scheme Success Chance: +25]
(Hostile Schemes does not mean Schemes hostile against yourself, but rather Schemes that are categorised as Hostile instead of Personal.)

digging for dirt tt.PNG

[Digging for Dirt — Find Secrets Progress Speed: +25%]

Find Secrets is the Spymaster Council Task you might remember from a few diaries ago.

There are also a handful of defensive measures, should your enemies come looking for revenge:

court of shadows tt.PNG

[Court of Shadows — Disrupt Schemes Effectiveness: +50%]
Disrupt Schemes is another —very useful— Spymaster Task.

prepared for anything tt.PNG

[Prepared for Anything — Enemy Hostile Scheme Success Chance: -25. Enemy Hostile Scheme Success Chance against your Courtiers: -10.]

Once you've unlocked this collection of perks, it will be very hard to turn your own methods against you. You will only really have to worry about people who are your equal as a Schemer. But you should be worrying about those people anyways.

In the previous dev diary about Schemes, you already got a sneak preview of a Scheme to Fabricate Hooks, which becomes available in the Schemer tree, and it's not the only scheme to be unlocked this way:

Truth is relative tt.PNG

[Truth is Relative — Enables the Fabricate Hook Scheme. Find Secrets may also fabricate Hooks.]

kidnapper tt.PNG

[Kidnapper Enables the Abduction Scheme]

Abduction is a criminal scheme, and therefore secret. However, if you succeed, you’re automatically discovered. They're not going to wonder for long whose dungeon they're locked in. You have nothing to worry about, though. The victim will be entirely at your mercy, after all.

But with all these Schemes, and only a single hostile scheme slot, what is a poor little Power Behind the Throne to do? Why, get yourself a second Scheme slot, of course!

twice schemed tt.PNG

[Twice Schemed Max Hostile Schemes: +1]

Lastly, this Perk tree offers up the Schemer trait. Not only does it grant a major bonus to your Intrigue in general. It also significantly boosts your Scheme Power, speeding up the inevitable success of your ingenious plans.

And with that we conclude this week's dev diary. I hope you're already daydreaming about all the ways you can grasp for power, and how to hold on to it once you've got it.

Next week we’ll be diving into the perk trees for the Stewardship lifestyles, so adieu until then!
Just remember to watch your back.


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[Like Weeds in a Garden — Fertility: +30%]
[Subtle Desire — Removes the Incestuous penalty from your Seduction Schemes]
[Truth is Relative — Enables the Fabricate Hook Scheme. Find Secrets may also fabricate Hooks.]
[Kidnapper Enables the Abduction Scheme]
Well, I think I see a fair few perks I'll be aiming for with at least some of my characters! Rather tempting little taste of what CK3 will offer! :)

That being said, though... I do worry that some of these may feel a little odd. I wonder what the justification might be, for instance, for Divine Retribution (quoted below). Suddenly the clergy doesn't care about your dreadful acts? Better PR game? Something else?
[Divine Retribution — You do not lose Piety or Clergy Opinion from Torturing or Executing others]
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Not bad at all. The game seems to be promising after all, but I find these DDs too bland and not juicy.
However, the Perk Tree is very good and detailed, good job.
And, of course, the question becomes how well these all synergize with each other...
I known this is "under developement", but Dark Insights seems to be very powerful. May be it's a misconception due to the number of prisonners in CK2, but it is easy to frequently torture people in CK2. So there is a risk that intrigue and prowess quickly inflate with a torturer, no?
Love it!

[Unshackled Lust — Removes your attraction penalties in Seduction Schemes]

Does this mean that you can choose to seduce someone even if your character's sexual orientation doesn't match their gender? Can a male heterosexual vassal seduce his male homosexual liege, but with a penalty that may hinder/undo progress? Because that would be awesome.
It's good that seduction now depends on who the characters are. Hopefully, this will make the AI's seduction attempts much less annoying.
Right? It was so annoying when a fat 71 year old somehow succeeded in seducing my wife
One thing I have immediately started wondering about... You need seduction perk to unlock incestual desire. But. You can never influence AI's character's sexual preferences (makes sense). So... for you to succesfully incest (yes it is verb from now on)... does your partner need to have seduction - incest perk as well?

I mean... it really wouldn't make sense for a vast majority of humans to accept incestual seduction lol
This looks really interesting. Can't wait to try them out for myself. :D

I just have two small concerns:
-> Do I really have to take the incest-trait with *every* character who wants to finish the seducer tree?
-> Will there also be other ways to increase my stats besides torture? In CK2, opportunities to permanently increase your stats were really powerful, so this seems a little too strong at first glance.
I love the details in this. It's good to see when many things are taken into consideration. One is "Agent acceptance" which I guess measures the propensity of other people to become Agents in your plot.
Dread is already a favourite a mine. Doesn't make sense to be a tyrant and having to worry too much about vassals opinion after you've defeated, imprisoned and executed 7 of them. You'd think they'd get the message after some time and play ball! :D (and if they really want to remove me, they should either plot against me or try to receive external help - be it the Pope or a foreign power)
I particularly like the details in the Torture tab screenshot: you can see all the consequences of your decision to torture the guy. Not only the classic opinion malus and Piety cost, but also stress effect (and you've spoiled a personality trait with that "Sadistic" :p ), the reason of the imprisonment and the effects to other related characters (as we can see in the half-cut words "All close family members... "
Also, finally happy that we can abduct people! Whenever I switch off of HIP to play vanilla CK2, I always miss the "Attempt to abduct" decision. Now it's finally a scheme! Hurray!

One last hope: I hope there will be more events than the staple ones in CK2, which become kind of stale after you've done them. You know... build the observatory... "Would you shut up about your pigs?!"... "I'll meet her by the river!"... "The White Stag"... we know them all already :p
[Unshackled Lust — Removes your attraction penalties in Seduction Schemes]
(There’s no way of overcoming your target’s sexual preferences, though. I’m sorry, but your liege is Just Not That Into You.)

Just to clarify, does this mean that e.g. a homosexual woman can seduce a straight man but that the reverse wouldn't work? If so, does the AI still prefer to seduce based on their preferences?

Also, a few questions regarding the CK3 implementation vs. the CK2 one:

- The AI behaviour when it comes to CK2 Seduction/Intrigue was rather... spammy at times. Has there been something done to keep the AI from pretty much always try to seduce/scheme against someone if they've got the ability to do so, other than having to consider whether they want that Scheme or an unrelated scheme?

- Similarly, in the case of CK2 seduction a lot of checks favoured the seducer (e.g. a Chaste target wasn't guaranteed to turn you down, particularly not with the lifestyle trait, and a Lustful AI character that got the "Do you want to tumble?" event never refused it). Has something been done to make characters that probably would be quite hard to seduce much less receptive (e.g. Lustful + in love with their spouse + disliking you = probably not happening, and Chaste being very hard to overcome (if not impossible))?

- Related to the above, has something been made to increase the importance of comparative rank (including the comparative rank of close relatives and close relatives of someone's spouse)? Counts seducing random princesses or the spouses of close relatives of kings and emperors was rather common in CK2, for example, which always seemed rather strange, and the opposite case (king/emperor vs. count(ess) or close relative of a count) not being a bit more favourable towards the seducer than same-rank seduction also was a bit odd.

- Related to the above, what penalties are there if you get caught seducing e.g. the heir apparent's wife? I believe that that case didn't let the current ruler take any action in CK2, which was a bit odd.