CK3 Dev Diary #33 - An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Hello everyone and welcome to the 33rd CK3 Dev Diary!

I’m Matthew, one of the Programmers on the CK3 team, and today I am going to talk to you about the overhaul we’ve done to Feudal Contracts since Dev Diary 17.

A quick refresher on what Contracts are: every vassal above baron tier has an individual contract between them and their liege which affects how much the vassal gives to the liege in terms of tax and levies in exchange for the liege’s protection. In the case of Feudal vassals, this contract can be renegotiated.

We were not fully content with the initial implementation of this setup as it did not help facilitate the drama and storytelling of the deals made between a vassal and their liege and the disagreements that could arise from that. This was a view shared among the community as well which reinforced our desire to give this feature another look, so a couple of our designers and I gave it an overhaul.

The Contract
You may have seen screenshots or videos of this system in some of the media released from our press events but I’m gonna take you through the new system step by step, so without further ado here is the new interface you’ll see when you interact with a vassal’s feudal contract.

ContractView.png

[Feudal contract negotiation screen]

As you can see there are a lot more options now to tailor the contract.

Going from top to bottom you can see that we have split the base tax and levy obligations into two separate tracks each now with five options. These are the core base of how much taxes and levies are given to the liege, the lower they are the more your vassal will like you, of course, and the higher they are the less content they will be.
When negotiating a new deal you can only move to adjacent levels of the tax and levy obligations.

Below that we have what we call the “Fine Print” options. These fine options are unlocked via various innovations and provide various modifications to the contract.
The first row being the Special Contract options of Scutage, March, and Palatinate which are available for vassals that are Dukes or Kings.

Scutage.png

[Effects of scutage]

March.png

[Effects of march]

Palatinate.png

[Effects of palatinate]

At the bottom we have the rest of the Fine Print options available, these are things like guaranteeing your vassal a spot on the council or granting them coinage rights. Some options are only shown if the vassal meets specific conditions, for example if the vassal is of a different faith to the liege. In such a case the “Religious Protection” gives them special rights to practice their faith without risk of the liege demanding their conversion or converting the faith of their provinces.

The Negotiation
When negotiating the contract a max of three changes may be made. We experimented with different values and this felt like it wasn’t too limiting whilst also letting you too wildly change your contract in one go.

With the new obligations that can be changed and enacted this allows you to negotiate a more interesting deal. For example, you as the liege may want to increase the amount of taxes your vassal gives you, but just doing that alone will be viewed as unfair by the vassal and increase your tyranny.

NegotiationTyranny.png

[a contract proposal giving tyranny]

So if you don’t want to take that tyranny hit then you need to look at what changes you can propose that the vassal will want, so in exchange for these increased taxes you could guarantee your vassal a spot on the council meaning you can now enact this deal without being viewed as a tyrant.

NegotiationFair.png

[a contract proposal with a fair trade]

Alternatively, if you have a hook on your vassal then you can use that hook to count as one free change in favour of the vassal, so you can use your hook and get those higher taxes without having to give any other concessions and not be viewed as a tyrant. Blackmailing people is surprisingly effective.

NegotiationHook.png

[a contract proposal using a hook to avoid tyranny]

It is worth mentioning that even if you propose a “fair” trade that does not give you tyranny this does not mean that the vassal will be perfectly content. There is an opinion change tied to each obligation and what status it is in, vassals will tend to dislike paying more and like paying less, and this opinion modifier will be present in the vassal’s view of their liege.

The vassal themselves can of course also negotiate the contract, they have the added restriction that they must offer their liege an even trade. So they cannot ask to pay lower taxes without using either a hook or agreeing to give the liege something they would want, be that giving more levies, agreeing to stay with only partition succession, or giving up a benefit they have previously been given such as that guaranteed council spot.

Some vassals start with contracts different to the default, in the Holy Roman Empire all vassals start with low taxes and levies to represent the internal state and the lower amount of control the Emperor was exerting over their vassals at the time.

We really wanted the interface to make this feel like an actual paper contract being signed between the liege and the vassal, thankfully we had this beautiful parchment background and wax seal shader lying around that helped spice it up.

Modding Contracts
All of these different obligations, their effects, how the AI uses them, and how they are shown in the UI is controlled in the script files so you can mod in or change existing obligations to your heart’s content.

Code:
religious_rights = {
    display_mode = checkbox

    is_shown = {

        NOT = {

            scope:vassal.faith = scope:liege.faith

        }

    }

    obligation_levels = {

        religious_rights_none = {

            default = yes

            

            ai_liege_desire = @ai_standard_liege_desire

            ai_vassal_desire = 0

        }

        religious_rights_protected = {

            is_valid = {

                NOT = {

                    scope:vassal.faith = scope:liege.faith

                }

            }

            parent = religious_rights_none

            

            vassal_opinion = 5

            

            vassal_modifier = {

                county_opinion_add = 5

            }

            

            flag = religiously_protected

            

            ai_liege_desire = 0

            ai_vassal_desire = 10

        }

    }
}
Here we have the script database entry for the religious protection obligation type, it demonstrates the various options and should be fairly self explanatory in its naming of the options.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed this dev diary and are excited for the new Feudal Contracts and the more options and interactions they can provide between vassals and lieges!

We look forward to seeing you next week, in the meanwhile if you want to chat more then I highly recommend joining our CK Discord Server as well!

Pets of the Dev Team
On the Crusader Kings 3 team we are of course very big fans of animals and pets of all kinds. So I thought to cap off this dev diary, and give you all some much needed cuteness overload during these difficult times in the world, I'd collect a bunch of pictures of all our wonderful pets, fluffy or otherwise!

Pet17.JPG

Pet1.png
Pet2.png
Pet3.png
Pet4.png
Pet5.png
Pet6.png
Pet7.png
Pet8.png
Pet9.png
Pet10.png
Pet11.png
Pet12.png
Pet13.png
Pet14.png
Pet15.png

Pet16.JPG
 
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Rhipeen

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Just a random question, so how are high end vassals like Bohemia within HRE represented? A contract with little obligation and defacto all bonuses?
 
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Miroku20X6

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Fantastic mechanic for the base game!

I would love later DLC to explore bargaining future potential contracts for factions/wars.

Like join the “install me as king” faction, and when I win via concession or war, I’ll reduce your levies and your taxes. Or Duke of Burgundy joins King of England in pressing his claim of Kingdom of France (Duke’s liege), and King of England will Grant Burgundy Independence with truce after becoming King of France as well. So much could be done here in later development (although would have to make sure AI could keep up with these types of things as well, not just benefit the player).
 
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Looks great!

How does this interact with the liberty revolts? Does the revolt mean contracts are moved 1 to the left in taxes and levies or does it allow for any kind of renegotiated with your lord? Also does every vassal get a better contract from a liberty revolt, or just the revolters?

Also does the fact War Decleration's option is Sanctioned rather than Illegal mean the default in CK3 is that vassal's can't declare war?
 
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Fantastic mechanic for the base game!

I would love later DLC to explore bargaining future potential contracts for factions/wars.

Like join the “install me as king” faction, and when I win via concession or war, I’ll reduce your levies and your taxes. Or Duke of Burgundy joins King of England in pressing his claim of Kingdom of France (Duke’s liege), and King of England will Grant Burgundy Independence with truce after becoming King of France as well. So much could be done here in later development (although would have to make sure AI could keep up with these types of things as well, not just benefit the player).
Claimants and the faction members who put them on the throne gain mutual opinion bonuses of each other. In addition, all of the faction members will gain a favor hook on their new liege, which the AI often uses to reduce their feudal obligations if possible.
I believe this may have been from before the feudal contracts were reworked, but either way, faction members who put a claimant on a throne get a hook they can use to get themselves a better feudal contract.
 
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Is the opinion penalty from high obligations permanent? The temporary penalty in CK2 Conclave is more or less the only major thing I don't like with it. It doesn't make much sense to go "Mhh, maybe these high taxes aren't so bad after all" after 5 years. And over time you can raise obligations very high without any consequences. It's much better if you can push for high taxes and high levies, but they will really hate you for it.
 
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If one of my vassals rebels against me, will i be able to force changes in their feudal contract as a punishment for their war without incurring tyranny?.
 
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I look foward to see this feature in action and it is great to actually see that you listen to the community, but that I was in doubt of that.
That last section of pets... so many Cats!
 
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This looks wonderful, very exciting!

If a liege and a vassal have different cultures, and therefore access to different fine print options through different innovations, which ruler's culture determines what options are available?
 
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I would rather prefer a rock than a plant as a pet :)
But it's about how much you love something, its about how much it loves you back :D
If it's about how much it loves you back, then why are so many of the pets posted cats?


(Edit: I actually am a cat person, btw.)
 
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What about an investiture sub clause?

Below the vassals name on the top left, could their traits be displayed which in turn may affect how they negotiate?

Also one last thing, can the hook be described to the right of where its check-marked? And can you use hooks on people if its a something about their relative/house member?
 
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If it's about how much it loves you back, then why are so many of the pets posted cats?
Cats do love their humans. it's just that it comes out differently in cats than it does with dogs. Dogs had already evolved to be social creatures, just like humans, so it was easy for them to show love to their humans.

Cats evolved to be solitary hunters. In fact, most wild cats will only tolerate other cats in their habitat for only two reasons: Mating, and rearing their young.

So, as I've already said, love, and trust, come out differently in cats than it does with dogs...
 
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So much better than before, credit where it's due to the devs for listening to feedback and making the changes
 
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Woifee

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Maybe in the bottom area adding the regent position to the contract would be nice. Or for the HRE the right to vote for the emperor.
 
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Woifee

Erzherzog von und zu Miregal
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Also, it would be great if vassals with great intrigue stats could change it one sided trough a forgery. Make it not way to easy tough. Maybe a few decades had passed since the last change ant the liege is a different character since the last change happened.
 
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pengoyo

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NegotiationHook.png

[a contract proposal using a hook to avoid tyranny]
agreeing to stay with only partition succession

As those are check boxes at the bottom of the contract, I suggest renaming Succession Rights to Succession Restrictions or Limitations, as a contract having the option to add the right to only use forced partitions sounds weird to me.
 
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Cipher3

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Is it possible to tie in a council position to the contract like a title, i.e. the Duke of Bavaria is always owed an advisor slot?
 
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