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CK3 Dev Diary #64 - Cultures Are Forever
Salutations!

Before we begin, first things first. We are working on an additional patch to fix some of the issues introduced in 1.4. The patch is still being worked on, but if everything goes as planned, we should be able to get it out sometime next week or so. We’ll let you know once the patch is ready.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about something I’m quite excited to share with you all. As you probably know already, we’ve talked a bit about how we are revisiting cultures for the next expansion: Royal Court. Unlike faiths, which got a lot of attention prior to release as we made them quite dynamic and customizable, cultures can feel a bit static, and aren't anywhere near as interesting as faiths. That is all about to change!

We are revising cultures as you know them. Most exciting is perhaps the possibility to create new cultures! Both for simulating historical events and to create plausible and interesting alt-history scenarios. But I’m getting ahead of myself. For now, let’s start by looking at the foundation of a culture and the different components they are made of. This is what the new culture screen will look like.

01_culture_window.jpg

[Image of the new and updated culture interface]

Cultural Pillars

A culture has five main Cultural Pillars. These are Ethos, Heritage, Language, Martial Custom, and finally Aesthetics. Of these, the Ethos is perhaps the most significant, but all of them play a particular role in how a culture plays and how cultures view each other.

Ethos
Each ethos is framed around a particular theme that somehow ties into a fairly broad definition of what a culture is. A culture’s ethos not only provides effects and bonuses for having it, it also ties into how easy or difficult it is to acquire certain traditions (more on this further down). There are seven in total:
  • Bellicose
  • Communal
  • Courtly
  • Egalitarian
  • Inventive
  • Spiritual
  • Stoic

Here are a few examples of what they may look like in-game:

02_ethos_bellicose.jpg

[Image of the Bellicose ethos]

03_ethos_spiritual.jpg

[Image of the Spiritual ethos]

04_ethos_inventive.jpg

[Image of the Inventive ethos]

Heritage
A culture's heritage can be compared to the culture groups that you may be used to in the existing system. Heritages will roughly match said culture groups. You’ll see an Iberian Heritage for cultures like Basque and Castilian, or Turkic Heritage for Turkic cultures, such as Oghuz and Cuman. In terms of gameplay, the most outstanding effect of a shared heritage is the impact it has on Cultural Acceptance.

Language
Each culture has a designated language. Languages vary greatly across the map and between cultures. Some languages, such as Arabic, are spoken by quite a few cultures. Other languages are spoken by no more than two or three cultures, or in some cases, cultures even have their own unique language. An example of these would be Basque, who really don't have any closely related languages and it wouldn’t make too much sense to group them together with their neighbors. The vast majority of cultures share a language though, as a sort of “language group” rather than a specific language.

Characters can always speak the associated language of their culture. They are, however, also able to learn multiple languages over their lifetime. Knowing multiple languages has its benefits, as speaking the same language as another character of a different culture, and county, will reduce the opinion penalty that character, or county, has towards you. Knowing the native language (i.e. the language of their culture) of your vassals is therefore fairly beneficial as a means of increasing their opinion of you.

Noble Martial Custom
The martial custom decides which gender you may appoint as knights and commanders. As you’d expect, you can either appoint men, women, or both. We always felt that having the gender doctrine on faiths decide which characters can and cannot participate in battles felt off. The doctrine is about the right to rule and the holding of titles, more so than anything else. Just because you want the Equal doctrine to allow female rulers, doesn’t mean that women would automatically lead your armies or join you as knights. Revising cultures gave us the ample opportunity to move the functionality from faiths over to cultures. Which also means that you’ll have additional options in shaping your realm.

Aesthetics
This pillar is really a collection of several smaller properties for what a culture “looks” like. It decides what type of clothes characters wear, the coat of arms style for dynasties, what architecture holdings use, and the type of armor the units on the map wear.

This is also the pillar that contains what naming practices the culture uses. Mainly what character names to use, if they use a dynasty prefix, etc. The naming practice will also be used to change title and holding names, which used to be set per culture, so as to not have titles change names if you create a new culture.

For all of you modders out there; all of these can be set individually per culture. Allowing you to mix and match the different aesthetics to your heart’s content.

Traditions

Traditions are the meat of the cultural overhaul, and provide that extra layer of variety and immersion that can have a significant impact on gameplay. An important aspect of traditions is that they give us a clear means of visualizing and explaining existing mechanics that previously just “was a thing” and never explained. Take Anglo-Saxon as an example. They have access to the Saxon Elective succession for no apparent reason other than “they do”. Instead, they now have a tradition that grants them the succession law, making it clear as to why they have it. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, traditions serve as the perfect means of giving a culture additional flavour or gameplay bonuses that add a greater degree of variety across the map.

A culture can have no more than five traditions in total, but this number will increase as you enter a new era. Most cultures will start the game with around three or four, which leaves plenty of room for you to shape your culture as you play the game. As the cultural head, you’ll have the ability to establish new traditions.

Not all traditions will be available everywhere. We have both regional traditions, as well as traditions that are available depending on your heritage. The vast majority of them can be established regardless of circumstances, but might require certain conditions, such as ‘Hill Dwellers’ having the requirement that your culture must be present in a county with hills.

Traditions cost prestige to adopt. Which will be the largest hurdle for you to overcome if you want a specific tradition. The prestige cost is dependent on your ethos. Certain traditions will be more expensive than others, if you don’t have a matching ethos. Similarly, a tradition will increase in cost if your culture, or in some cases the cultural head, doesn’t fulfill a specific and thematic requirement. An example would be a tradition named ‘Only the Strong’, which is more expensive if you as the cultural head don't have at least six knights with at least 12 prowess. The increased cost is meant to act as a softer limit and make it slightly more difficult to establish certain traditions (depending on your circumstances), but not as much as to make it impossible to do so, should you want to go and unlock a particular tradition.

Instead of explaining traditions in detail, I’ll just show you a few examples of what traditions may look like, as well as the type of effects you can expect from them.

05_tradition_swordsforhire.jpg

[Image of the Swords for Hire tradition]

06_tradition_chivalry.jpg

[Image of the Chivalry tradition]

07_tradition_esteemedhospitality.jpg

[Image of the Esteemed Hospitality tradition]

08_tradition_seafarers.jpg

[Image of the Seafarers tradition]

09_tradition_landofthebow.jpg

[Image of the Land of the Bow tradition]

Cultural Acceptance

Cultural acceptance can be described as how well intermingled two cultures are, and how accepting they are of each other. Which means that given enough time, cultures will dislike each other less, and culture converting everything within your realm is no longer the only solution to combat cultural differences.

The opinion penalty of being of a different culture used to be a static value. Now, it will depend on the cultural acceptance between your culture and the target culture. Each culture has an acceptance value of another culture, visualized as a percentage. Depending on the amount of acceptance, the “different culture” opinion penalty will gradually be reduced. At 0% acceptance, you’ll have the full opinion penalty. At 100%, the penalty is removed altogether. Acceptance goes both ways. So if the French have a 20% acceptance towards Normans, the same will be true from the Norman perspective.

There are two ways for acceptance to change. The first is an acceptance baseline. Which increases if two cultures share similarities with one another. There are a number of different modifiers that can increase the baseline. Such as cultures that share the same religion or faith, ethos, or language. The most impactful modifier, however, is heritage. If two cultures share the same heritage, they have a significant bonus to their baseline.

If acceptance is above the baseline, it will slowly decay over time towards the targeted value. Being below the baseline on the other hand, will not make the acceptance increase. A bad relation between cultures won’t disappear overnight.

Secondly, acceptance very much changes depending on the circumstances. Don’t expect two cultures that never interact with one another to gain acceptance. If cultures exist within the same realm though, it will increase over time. This applies to both counties of another culture within your realm, as well as vassals. Acceptance is also reactive. Taking certain actions towards characters of a different culture will have consequences on your acceptance, such as declaring war or revoking titles. This generally scales on size. While the difference isn’t huge, revoking a single county from a small culture will decrease your acceptance more than if you would revoke a county from a much larger culture. At the end of the day, if you want to maintain a high acceptance and keep your Occitan vassals in France happy, you are at least gonna have to try and be nice to them.

10_cultural_acceptance.jpg

[Image of what the cultural acceptance between two cultures may look like]

There we go. That’s what a culture will look like in the near future. Oh! Before I forget; Best of all? The cultural rework is free, and will accompany the free update that launches alongside the Royal Court expansion!

Until next time!
 

Viridianus

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I mean, this discussion doesn't really seem to have a point as you cannot grasp even the basics of population movements and ethnic history of Northern-Europe while I studied it in university.
I have grasped it, as we do not have a single factual disagreement. As far as I can see, we both agree on the following scenario of what actually happened. There was a Pan-Proto-Finnic group (itself probably deriving from an earlier split with Sami), living around modern-day Estonia. Then Seto split (their being first is robustly confirmed by linguistic data). Then the rest started colonizing nearby areas such as Karelia and Finland.

The only disagreement we do have is whether to call this remaining group (ancestral to Finns, modern-day Estonians, and Karelians) "Estonian" in-game - and, aside from their being in Estonia (which is not enough as I indicated by the Italic example and you support by the well-known Germanic example - again, judging by that, we both know that's a non-argument), there is no particular reason to call them that.
 

Riamus

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I'm broadly along side that.

I was thinking that usually you'd learn the primary language of your dominant parent as you age up to about 6, before being sent to your tutor and *possibly* picking up their language (and they need to be able to speak your language to even be able to tutor you... after all, if you've grown up in a court that only speaks Norse, and you're sent to a tutor who speaks Italian, your tutoring won't be that effective...). However if, as is reasonably usual for my playthroughs the tutor is in the court of the ruler-parent (or is the ruler parent), then learning the non-dominant parent's language if different could be a possibility.

But yeah, your expansion of the concept makes sense, even if it's a little more complicated than I was thinking.

Yeah, basically where I was going. My thinking though is that sometimes a child has a guardian set up right away rather than at 6. But I'm actually not certain if they leave immediately or wait until 6 before they leave if the guardian is in another court. I'd have to test that (or someone else can if they want). If the child remains in the parent's court until 6, then absolutely they should always learn the parent's language. If they can leave the court right away, then they wouldn't necessarily learn the parent's language if they spend their entire childhood in a different court.
 

es333

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I have grasped it, as we do not have a single factual disagreement. As far as I can see, we both agree on the following scenario of what actually happened. There was a Pan-Proto-Finnic group (itself probably deriving from an earlier split with Sami), living around modern-day Estonia. Then Seto split (their being first is robustly confirmed by linguistic data). Then the rest started colonizing nearby areas such as Karelia and Finland.

The only disagreement we do have is whether to call this remaining group (ancestral to Finns, modern-day Estonians, and Karelians) "Estonian" in-game - and, aside from their being in Estonia (which is not enough as I indicated by the Italic example and you support by the well-known Germanic example - again, judging by that, we both know that's a non-argument), there is no particular reason to call them that.

Finnic didn't split from Sami, they're rather distantly related and the Sami had lived in Scandinavia for thousands of years before the first proto-Finnics arrived to Finland by sea from the proto-Finnic homeland of Estonia.
The small amount of shared vocabulary and similarities between Sami & Finnic is a result of contacts starting in the late Bronze Age. The timeline and history of those 2 groups is so different that the last time that they spoke the same language was some form of Western Uralic around the Volga river region at the very early stages of the Uralic language family.

By CK start dates, Finnic seafarers from Estonia had settled just the southern and south-western coast of Finland and they were still the minority group in Finland as the Sami still inhabited most of Finland. As I said, if you think that every Finnic person at that point should be called "Finnish", then we should rename Norse to "Icelandic". Estonian, Veps, Finnish etc are good enough names/splits for the different subgroups.
Map (by Marika Mägi) of the 9th century ethnic situation:
d95fd44911bb9e9321d8f6785cb1c9a7.png
 
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Viridianus

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Finnic didn't split from Sami, they're rather distantly related and the Sami had lived in Scandinavia for thousands of years before the first proto-Finnics arrived to Finland by sea from the proto-Finnic homeland of Estonia.
1)You're nitpicking a side point which does not in any way affect the main claim I made (namely, that we perceive the map identically - more or less akin to the picture you show - and only debate around the name).
2)In this point, however, we do have an additional disagreement previously unseen - namely, on the validity of Finno-Samic hypothesis (wikilink for potential readers).
As I said, if you think that every Finnic person at that point should be called "Finnish", then we should rename Norse to "Icelandic".
I think that Finnish, Karelian and Estonian are all anachronistic misnomers (they probably called themselves something like Maarahva) but, if choosing among the misnomers the vanilla game suggests, Finnish is less of an offence than Estonian - because we could re-use Estonian for a group that actually was separate by that time.
And yes, if the devs weren't themselves Swedish, Norse would probably be called Icelandic (just like we have Turkish and Bosnian and Portuguese and what-not), and you know what? It would be OK. Not great, but OK.
Estonian, Veps, Finnish etc are good enough names/splits for the different subgroups.
It is anachronistic to split them though. At least at the level of granularity most cultures have.
 
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Ryeboy98

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It feels like from a gameplay perspective, the "optimal" answer would be to still convert (maybe avoiding some very low development provinces). After all, even if you have perfect acceptance now, that could all change with a few wars, and then it'd be a disaster.

It feels like, despite all these nifty toys to play with, the game heavily incentivizes cultural homogenizing. Culture-converting provinces is cheap, quick, and low risk. Not culture-converting is a dangerous game that will eventually come back to bite the AI (a competent human can get away with just about anything). The same problem exists with religion - we have lots of unique local religions in the first few years, and they all get obliterated because there's no downside or expense or difficulty to doing so. I'm concerned the same will happen with cultures, and a lot of this cool work will go to waste.
I mean if the AI ruler is encountering problems relating to political stability from a culture that is outraged at the actions of the ruling culture, I don't really see a problem. I'm sure there have been many times throughout history where two different communities live in relative peace, until something happens that divides them deeply(war, injustice, persecution, change of leadership) etc. Honestly it makes the game more fun if certain circumstances(the cultural acceptance mechanic) can change the stability of a realm, it's pretty much emergent gameplay which I think is a good thing for CK3's replayability.

CK3 should have more disasters imo if we want to make the game more challenging or even less predictable.
 
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DreadLindwyrm

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I mean if the AI ruler is encountering problems relating to political stability from a culture that is outraged at the actions of the ruling culture, I don't really see a problem. I'm sure there have been many times throughout history where two different communities live in relative peace, until something happens that divides them deeply(war, injustice, persecution, change of leadership) etc. Honestly it makes the game more fun if certain circumstances(the cultural acceptance mechanic) can change the stability of a realm, it's pretty much emergent gameplay which I think is a good thing for CK3's replayability.

CK3 should have more disasters imo if we want to make the game more challenging or even less predictable.
I can potentially see problems where Ruler A, with a population split between cultures 1 and 2 has their realm get into some severe trouble because Ruler B (with culture 1) and Ruler C (with culture 2) have ended up in an extended series of wars, even though Ruler A has a more of both cultures in his realm than either B or C. Say for example Ruler A is Emperor of Francia, but for whatever reason there is a small pool of French and Occitan land that is not under his control, and the rulers of those areas are at war.

Depending on how the weighting for the cultures being at peace in the larger realm against the smaller realms being at war is handled, it could make a really, really, big difference.
 
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grommile

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CK3 should have more disasters imo if we want to make the game more challenging
Paradox games tend to sit at a spot on the curve where changes that might ostensibly make the game mechanically harder frequently end up making the single-player game practically easier.
 
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@Servancour have you considered adding Mercantile ethos? It seems really obvious for some cultures (Flemish, Yemeni...) and it's strange how there is no ethos for earning money.
 

Jon the Wizard

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So I have a question about the expansion I haven't seen yet. Can we re-name titles? Like, say I'm playing as the Coptic King of Egypt, can I re-name the title of Malik of Egypt to Pharaoh of Egypt?
 

peaswar

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So I have a question about the expansion I haven't seen yet. Can we re-name titles? Like, say I'm playing as the Coptic King of Egypt, can I re-name the title of Malik of Egypt to Pharaoh of Egypt?
well copts aren't a culture in CK3 atm, but if they were, they'd prob have a coptic aesthetic and titles, no?
 

DreadLindwyrm

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So I have a question about the expansion I haven't seen yet. Can we re-name titles? Like, say I'm playing as the Coptic King of Egypt, can I re-name the title of Malik of Egypt to Pharaoh of Egypt?
It'd be nice to have that option.

Same as on the religious front being able to rename priest titles and the God/High God/Evil God slots.
 
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Nokori

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Answer to the question: "1. Will having a male only Martial culture prevent the AI from picking martial education for girls? I really think it should." by TheMongoose.

1. As far as I know, it won't affect the AI for picking education. Might be something to consider though, but I would never want to block it completely.
As martial education is a real education and not just "I picked it up while I watched the knights fight" thing (that can be represented by martial skill points and prowess) it should be picked rarely by the AI. It would be nice if characters from a man/woman only warrior culture would have an opinion penalty of the "incorrect" gender having a martial education. (We are okay with this woman being of a different culture. As long as she does the things like they are meant to be done {it est like we do}).
 

Jon the Wizard

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well copts aren't a culture in CK3 atm, but if they were, they'd prob have a coptic aesthetic and titles, no?
No, the culture I'm part of is Egyptian. I thought it'd be apropos to be the Pharaoh of Egypt as opposed to the likely more correct title of Malik.
 

QuinnMallory

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Looks great!

Anything about cultures that fade into obscurity?
I mean, in this game you can rule over a certain culture and that culture will eventually disappear. It is assimilated into your own.
Can there be a way for cultures to emerge from this obscurity?
Maybe a way to never have them fully disappear, but rather be somehow present (via hidden modifiers) on the map? These cultures would still spawn their own characters and could emerge and be dominant in certain provinces, if some conditions are met.
This sort of thing would only ever make sense with a POP mechanic. I've wanted something similar for religion so there's a distinction between "51% of this county's people are Orthodox" and "99.9% of this county's people are Orthodox", and was disappointed when it didn't happen. Probably won't :(
 
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haxorus29

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Please PLEASE do not make the mistake of thinking that the basque nobility spoke basque when they spoke indeed castillian. Dont break the game balance adding issues that didn't exist in the past based on today's prejudices of the modern era. BAsque until recently in history wasn't spoken except by rural folk in the Basque mountains.

Same as with the anglo saxon's being inventive. Anglo saxon in the middle ages were anything but invented and their lands certainly didnt have an exceptional development superior to the rest. PLEASE don't develop the game based on modern times stereotypes and recent history.
I'm not really sure if I can believe you since Francoist suppression of the Basque langauge is well known, and it indeed had a modern revival in response to that suppression, but I don't know if you mean the state of the Basque language post-Franco as how it's always been or if it was previously like that.
 

SMiki Lorebringer

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What about Slavic languages? AFAIK back then they weren't that different from each other and their more noticeable split happened later than in some other language groups, hence projects like interslavic or neoslavonic languages that are mostly understood by every Slav without studying it today.
It would be best to have three Slavic languages: "East Slavic", "South Slavic" and "West Slavic".

So only seafarer cultures can navigate rivers, huh? Shouldn't it be the other way? I'm not a sailor myself so correct me if I'm wrong but shouldn't sailing down Volga be easier than braving the high seas? Wouldn't it make more sense if all cultures were able to navigate rivers but only the seafarers could sail the seas without severe penalties? I mean, it's right there in the name.
Agreed.
 
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