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!
 

Darsara

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View attachment 731859
[Image of the Land of the Bow tradition]


I know it's been a while, but I was thinking about playing as the Nubians, and are you sure Hunting Grounds are the best building for the bonus effect on archers, since Nubians won't be able to build many of them? In both start dates there are 23 Nubian counties, of which only 6 are eligible thanks to having Drylands as the terrain in there capitol baronies, with the rest being 15 floodplains, one Desert and one Desert Mountain. There are 24 non-capital baronies that can build Hunting Grounds (all Drylands), but only 5 are able to have castles built in them even if want to try and hold them for the bonus (the rest either have cities/temples built in them, or are in counties with only 3 holdings anyways).

So unless A) the terrain range for hunting grounds is being expanded; B) Nubians get the ability to build hunting grounds in floodplains, or C) Barony level Men-at-arms bonus now apply to the county holder, they won't actually be using that bonus until they start expanding out of their starting area.

From a pure balance point I could understand wanting to limit bonus stacking, but it's weird to me that a culture should have a major affinity for something they'll have so little familiarity with. Like the Anglo-Saxons being good with Wetland Farms or the Spanish with Forestry.
 
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Jarolleon

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Any particular reason for Anglo-Saxon being "inventive"? Before the 19th century, the English were known for being parochial and conservative, the inspiration for Hobbits from LOTR. A couple example quotes:

"the English are great lovers of themselves , and of everything belonging to them ; they think that there are no other men than themselves , and no other world but England ; and whenever they see a handsome foreigner , they say that“ he looks like an Englishman , and that “it is a great pity that he should not be an Englishman;”
and when they partake of any delicacy with a foreigner , they ask him , " whether such a thing is made in their country ? "
"-A relation of the Island of England, 1498, translated in 1847.

"Thanks to our sullen resistance to innovation, thanks to the cold sluggishness of our national character, we still bear the stamp of our forefathers."-Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790

I find it most likely that this extends back into the medieval period but I don't have proof of it.
 
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DreadLindwyrm

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Any particular reason for Anglo-Saxon being "inventive"? Before the 19th century, the English were known for being parochial and conservative, the inspiration for Hobbits from LOTR. A couple example quotes:

"the English are great lovers of themselves , and of everything belonging to them ; they think that there are no other men than themselves , and no other world but England ; and whenever they see a handsome foreigner , they say that“ he looks like an Englishman , and that “it is a great pity that he should not be an Englishman;”
and when they partake of any delicacy with a foreigner , they ask him , " whether such a thing is made in their country ? "
"-A relation of the Island of England, 1498, translated in 1847.

"Thanks to our sullen resistance to innovation, thanks to the cold sluggishness of our national character, we still bear the stamp of our forefathers."-Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790

I find it most likely that this extends back into the medieval period but I don't have proof of it.
Well, "English", and "Anglo-Saxon" are different cultures, so the 15th and 19th century visions of "English" culture aren't necessarily accurate for 9th century Anglo-Saxons.
 
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Gwydden

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Any particular reason for Anglo-Saxon being "inventive"?
My guess is that it is a reference to famous Old English scholars like the Venerable Bede, Alcuin of York, and Eilmer of Malmesbury, or even the scholarship of Alfred the Great himself. Pre-conquest English culture is a completely different beast than even late medieval England.
 
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Torredebelem

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For game balance sake, are ethos and traditions going to give bonuses only?

I soppose for each bonus a penalty in some other area should apply....

Based on the screens hots, upon 1.5, there goes another round of nodding for balancing the gameplay of the new content.
 

DreadLindwyrm

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For game balance sake, are ethos and traditions going to give bonuses only?

I soppose for each bonus a penalty in some other area should apply....

Based on the screens hots, upon 1.5, there goes another round of nodding for balancing the gameplay of the new content.
Since everyone gets a bonus - that's theoretically equal - from ethos they don't need to have penalties there.

And to be honest, I don't want to feel penalised by a culture *having* to take penalties to get bonuses as it then becomes restrictive and very "forced".

Imagine a culture that has about 50% dry plains and 50% wet plains. If you want to take two culture traits to get bonuses in both terrains, then that's already got the inherent opportunity cost of taking up two of your limited number of slots; but if the "wet commander" and "dry commander" come with penalties to the other terrain, then not only has it cost you two slots, but it's also costing you most of the bonuses of taking the traits in the first place.

(An area which might have both "wet" and "dry" terrain would be somewhere like Egypt, where the Nile banks are potentially *very* wet, but the lands further away from the Nile are notoriously dry.)
 

Torredebelem

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Since everyone gets a bonus - that's theoretically equal - from ethos they don't need to have penalties there.

And to be honest, I don't want to feel penalised by a culture *having* to take penalties to get bonuses as it then becomes restrictive and very "forced".

Imagine a culture that has about 50% dry plains and 50% wet plains. If you want to take two culture traits to get bonuses in both terrains, then that's already got the inherent opportunity cost of taking up two of your limited number of slots; but if the "wet commander" and "dry commander" come with penalties to the other terrain, then not only has it cost you two slots, but it's also costing you most of the bonuses of taking the traits in the first place.

(An area which might have both "wet" and "dry" terrain would be somewhere like Egypt, where the Nile banks are potentially *very* wet, but the lands further away from the Nile are notoriously dry.)
There is a huge number of modifiers to pick from, not only the notable case you present and for which you have all the reason. It is a matter of picking the right penalties. From a design standpoint I prefer to have penalties included too. After all more bonuses will be mostly taken advantage by the player to their utmost and only serve to unbalance the game even more, turn the game even easier and cause the players to lose interest in the campaign even faster.

Curiously and as an oversight of mine - I was reading the DD and writing my previous post on my phone - it seems the French culture has a penalty included: +50% Tyranny for being Chivalrous. Good news, at least in this case!
 

DreadLindwyrm

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There is a huge number of modifiers to pick from, not only the notable case you present and for which you have all the reason. It is a matter of picking the right penalties. From a design standpoint I prefer to have penalties included too. After all more bonuses will be mostly taken advantage by the player to their utmost and only serve to unbalance the game even more, turn the game even easier and cause the players to lose interest in the campaign even faster.

Curiously and as an oversight of mine - I was reading the DD and writing my previous post on my phone - it seems the French culture has a penalty included: +50% Tyranny for being Chivalrous. Good news, at least in this case!
The problem is that you need to make the penalties ones that universally make sense. In most cases it's difficult to think of a penalty that should logically *always* go with a particular bonus, without being nonsensical in some situations.

What penalties do you give to a culture for having access to tanistry for example?
 

Torredebelem

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The problem is that you need to make the penalties ones that universally make sense. In most cases it's difficult to think of a penalty that should logically *always* go with a particular bonus, without being nonsensical in some situations.

What penalties do you give to a culture for having access to tanistry for example?
If the only bonus is to give access to tanistry certainly no penalty is warranted.

But let me give you some meaningful penalties using all the screenshots from the dev diary to show you how easy it is to come up with some logical options as penalties:


Bellicose
  • - 3 to Diplomacy
  • -10% success to Sway

Spiritual

  • -10% to Monthly Prestige
  • -10% to Development

Inventive

  • -25% to Control

Swords for Hire

  • +10% MaA recruitment cost
  • +10% MaA maintenance cost

Chivalry

(It's balanced right now)
  • +50% Tyranny gained

Esteemed Hospitality

  • -10% Success Chance for Hostile Schemes

Seafarers

  • -20% for Levy Size

Land of the Bow

  • -5 Attacker Advantage
  • Cannot recruit Armoured Footmen
 

DreadLindwyrm

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Bellicose
  • - 3 to Diplomacy
  • -10% success to Sway
That's quite a large diplomacy penalty, and swaying someone doesn't have to be entirely diplomatic.
Plus "war is diplomacy by other means".

Here though you're effectively saying you can't be both a warlord and diplomatic. I'd have to disagree with this somewhat.


Spiritual

  • -10% to Monthly Prestige
  • -10% to Development
I'm not convinced that merely being spiritually minded would reduce your prestige - especially amongst *other* people who are also spiritually minded. Even more so with the flavour text stating that to this culture "Spirituality is the only way forward in a harsh and uncaring world" - such that they see it as the "correct" and thus most prestigious way forward, since they don't value other approaches.
Development penalties also strike me as generally bad. It's one of the major factors in why Insular Christianity is considered bad, because it's inherently crippling, since it then rolls over into innovations and thus tech progress, as well as overall wealth.


Inventive

  • -25% to Control
I see no reason for this to make sense at all.


Swords for Hire

  • +10% MaA recruitment cost
  • +10% MaA maintenance cost
So, we've got a warrior culture that trains a higher proportion of its population to take up the sword, but it's harder to recruit people to take up the sword?
Yes, you lose some to the mercenary companies, but that's counterbalanced by having more potential warriors overall in the society.


Esteemed Hospitality

  • -10% Success Chance for Hostile Schemes
Logical for some hostile schemes, not so logical for others. Abducting someone on the pretext that you've invited them to enjoy your hospitality *could* be easier.


Seafarers

  • -20% for Levy Size
Since one part of the trait *raises* levy size in some cases, this is effectively just removing one of the strengths of the trait.


Land of the Bow

  • -5 Attacker Advantage
  • Cannot recruit Armoured Footmen
Falls into the same problem as my Nile example earlier if you also have a reason for a heavy armour foot tradition.
Say you've got a history of heavy foot supported by archers.
 
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Torredebelem

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That's quite a large diplomacy penalty, and swaying someone doesn't have to be entirely diplomatic.
Plus "war is diplomacy by other means".

Here though you're effectively saying you can't be both a warlord and diplomatic. I'd have to disagree with this somewhat.



I'm not convinced that merely being spiritually minded would reduce your prestige - especially amongst *other* people who are also spiritually minded. Even more so with the flavour text stating that to this culture "Spirituality is the only way forward in a harsh and uncaring world" - such that they see it as the "correct" and thus most prestigious way forward, since they don't value other approaches.
Development penalties also strike me as generally bad. It's one of the major factors in why Insular Christianity is considered bad, because it's inherently crippling, since it then rolls over into innovations and thus tech progress, as well as overall wealth.



I see no reason for this to make sense at all.



So, we've got a warrior culture that trains a higher proportion of its population to take up the sword, but it's harder to recruit people to take up the sword?
Yes, you lose some to the mercenary companies, but that's counterbalanced by having more potential warriors overall in the society.



Logical for some hostile schemes, not so logical for others. Abducting someone on the pretext that you've invited them to enjoy your hospitality *could* be easier.



Since one part of the trait *raises* levy size in some cases, this is effectively just removing one of the strengths of the trait.



Falls into the same problem as my Nile example earlier if you also have a reason for a heavy armour foot tradition.
Say you've got a history of heavy foot supported by archers.

To each its own and certainly for the sake of argument one can find drawbacks in almost all bonuses or penalties being presented.
Had I the patience to do it, I certainly could defend my choices with the same level of savvy as you criticize them. Easy to come up with the arguments either to criticize or to support them. But I *do* confess I did all the bonuses on the fly while answering your post, without giving much thought to each. It is dead easy to come up with penalties for each Ethos & Tradition, based on the bonuses each gives and its character.

What is certain is that with bonuses mostly, game balance will be even more tilted as the player is the one who will take mostly the advantages given. And even in 1.4 game balance is already quite poor, in my opinion, with lots of bonuses and gameplay far too much "sugared" with all sorts of positive modifiers.
Also having penalties to consider when making the option of picking Ethos & Traditions would increase the dilemma faced and the complexity of the choices presented to the player, thus would be a good gameplay element.
 
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