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It's time for another cycle of developer diaries on Crusader Kings II and I thought I'd begin by talking about the new start date and giving you a broad overview of the upcoming expansion; The Old Gods. Yes, we're pushing back the earliest possible start date to 867 AD. This is a special bookmark that comes with the expansion (and you will not be able to start at dates between 867 and 1066 without modding.)

Europe is a very different place in 867... Many of the familiar countries have not yet come into being. There is no Hungary, no Poland, no Russian principalities and the British Isles and Scandinavia are full of petty kingdoms. The Carolingians still rule the Franks, but the great Empire of Charlemagne has been divided between four of his descendants. In the Byzantine Empire, a new dynasty has just risen - the House of Makedon - destined to restore some of its former glory. The Muslims are in the middle of a drawn-out crisis as the once enormous Abbasid Caliphate has fractured, with a succession of Caliphs being murdered by their own Turkish generals.

CKII_ToG_DD_01_Europe_867.png

Most importantly, however, the North and East are completely dominated by bustling tribes of unrepentant heathens who remain less than impressed with the White Christ. Why debase yourself before a dead man on a cross when you can loot the riches of his fat clergy instead? Just as the fury of the Northmen descends on the undefended shores of Europe, other, equally pagan threats are on the rise in the steppes of Tartaria. Like the Avars before them, the feared Magyar horse lords are pushing into Europe from beyond the Carpathians. Why is all this more important than the affairs of Christians and Muslims? Because with The Old Gods, all these heathens are finally playable! (But you probably knew that already. :D )

CKII_ToG_DD_01_Magyar_Invasion.png

Playing a pagan chieftain is at least as different as playing a Muslim. Not only that, there are significant differences between the various heathen religions. Some are aggressive in nature, like the Norse and Tengri beliefs, and some are more defensive, like the Finno-Ugric faith. For example, the warlike Norse will suffer a prestige loss for being at peace for too long, and will need to wage war or set sail to pillage and loot. The Finns don't have this problem, but on the other hand, their vassals will dislike having their troops raised (like Christians). Some faiths get defensive bonuses and larger garrisons in their homelands, some don't, etc. However, they can all potentially be reformed to withstand the allure of the new religions.

CKII_ToG_DD_01_The_Great_Heathen_Army.png

In the coming weeks, I will explain the different religions in detail. I will, of course, also talk about other new features, like traversible rivers, new cultures, Zoroastrians, Adventurers, and much more. Stay tuned, and here are some more screenshots to tease and titillate!

CKII_ToG_DD_01_Loot_and_Pillage.pngCKII_ToG_DD_01_Varangians.pngCKII_ToG_DD_01_The_Last_Zoroastrians.png





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tokle

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What's the reasoning behind making Alfheim Danish?
If you are following the narrative of Heimskringla (which you seem to do, in the way you are showing the unification of Norway.) Alfheim should be either under Westrogothia or Harald Fairhair.
 

Sykez

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I might actually buy this DLC, can't wait for dev diary 2.
 

sreckom92

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So, the Mongols will be playable?
Isn't that a bit too much to put in 1 DLC? I was hoping for a separate DLC for Mongols and all steppe hordes.
Don't get me wrong, I just want to see them in full splendor :)
 

ikki

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Masterplan:

Start as Holmgard. Conquer all of rus and tartaria & baltics (incl finland). Raid as required.. like stealing swedish church doors (ahem, they must have been VERY drunk). An empire or two wouldnt hurt.
Await the mongols and fight them with full pagan fury. Only after that consider turning into a (wussified) stable religion.

Althought it would be pretty neat to convert a pagan norse rus into eu2/3/4 and go onward into siberia... and conquer whatever you like while converting to pagan. Only then later turning reformed and making all lands in the world into reformed norse :p
 

Nithus

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Eastern Europe looks really weird frm the screenshot. What the hell is Bereg for example? Never heard about such country at that time period (actually, to be honest, never heard about such country in entire European history).
 

DerOstkonig

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This looks excellent, I can't wait for the earlier start date!! I think the longer total play time is going to necessitate some modifications into how how the consolidation of extended Christian and Muslim conquest works though. At this moment Holy Wars fought by the AI seem to be a form of total ethnic cleansing where entire cultures are displaced over thousands of kilometers, and defeated leaders are unable to convert to the winning religion to keep their land or their lives (history has shown that one's god is quickly forsaken to save one's own life). In reality, any Empires that exist outside of a regional scope (regional meaning, for example, the HRE) are multicultural in nature, and I don't believe this game represents that under AI rulers .For example. in my last game, I had built up the Sultanate of Rum to encompass the whole Byzantine Empire, and preserved Greek noble families as long as they converted to Islam (the Ottomans did this as well). However, when I eventually lost the throne of Rum, the HRE came in and conquered Greece and Poof! any trace of Greek families were gone and replaced by Germans as if they had opened Auschwitz and built a train network 800 years too soon. This trend continued until the whole middle east was ruled by Germans and there were no Arabs Greeks or anything else left to be found even as courtiers or minor nobles (Where are they getting all these perfect Germans?? Even in the 20th century there were not even enough native Germans to settle the Port of Danzig alone, so Hitler had to settle for German-speaking Lithuanians!) . They vassalized me, and as a Muslim ruler I was unable to convert to christanity without cheats (We really should have the option to freely change our religion once in our lifetime, even if it gives us a -80 relationship hit with our former and new religion)! Executed by the Kaiser! Game over! I think its really important to acknowledge the multicultural nature empires and make it harder for the AI to get rid of cultural nobility as it creates ridiculous situations where Medieval states are somehow able to carry out well-organized mass genocide over thousands of kilometers in under 50 years. (Not to mention the idea of fair skinned germans ruling the whole Arabian desert effortlessly as if it were the Rhineland) It just doesnt make sense, and it tends to make large Christian and Muslim Empires "too big to fail" when history has shown us that attempting to eradicate the Nobility of a culture usually leads to the fall of empires, not the preservation of them.
 

DerOstkonig

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All that said, I believe it will be even more Important that pagan rulers have freedom to choose their religion as well. One of the most seminal moments in European history was the conversion of the Magyars to Catholicism, as it decided the boundaries of Catholic Christendom, and pretty much sealed the fate of the Byzantine Empire's Balkan sphere of influence as well. If pagans are unable to freely convert to Christianity or Islam, a potentially earth-shattering event like that will be prevented from happening! (I think it would be important that Pagans only be able to convert to religions of nations that are directly adjacent to their territory.
 

Lwantssugar

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This looks excellent, I can't wait for the earlier start date!! I think the longer total play time is going to necessitate some modifications into how how the consolidation of extended Christian and Muslim conquest works though. At this moment Holy Wars fought by the AI seem to be a form of total ethnic cleansing where entire cultures are displaced over thousands of kilometers, and defeated leaders are unable to convert to the winning religion to keep their land or their lives (history has shown that one's god is quickly forsaken to save one's own life). In reality, any Empires that exist outside of a regional scope (regional meaning, for example, the HRE) are multicultural in nature, and I don't believe this game represents that under AI rulers .For example. in my last game, I had built up the Sultanate of Rum to encompass the whole Byzantine Empire, and preserved Greek noble families as long as they converted to Islam (the Ottomans did this as well). However, when I eventually lost the throne of Rum, the HRE came in and conquered Greece and Poof! any trace of Greek families were gone and replaced by Germans as if they had opened Auschwitz and built a train network 800 years too soon. This trend continued until the whole middle east was ruled by Germans and there were no Arabs Greeks or anything else left to be found even as courtiers or minor nobles (Where are they getting all these perfect Germans?? Even in the 20th century there were not even enough native Germans to settle the Port of Danzig alone, so Hitler had to settle for German-speaking Lithuanians!) . They vassalized me, and as a Muslim ruler I was unable to convert to christanity without cheats (We really should have the option to freely change our religion once in our lifetime, even if it gives us a -80 relationship hit with our former and new religion)! Executed by the Kaiser! Game over! I think its really important to acknowledge the multicultural nature empires and make it harder for the AI to get rid of cultural nobility as it creates ridiculous situations where Medieval states are somehow able to carry out well-organized mass genocide over thousands of kilometers in under 50 years. (Not to mention the idea of fair skinned germans ruling the whole Arabian desert effortlessly as if it were the Rhineland) It just doesnt make sense, and it tends to make large Christian and Muslim Empires "too big to fail" when history has shown us that attempting to eradicate the Nobility of a culture usually leads to the fall of empires, not the preservation of them.
I agree with you on the cultural bits but not the religious one: the countless Christians Rome fed to lions or crucified in the waning days of Western Rome are some of the best examples of people being over-zealous pricks about religion
 

DerOstkonig

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I agree with you on the cultural bits but not the religious one: the countless Christians Rome fed to lions or crucified in the waning days of Western Rome are some of the best examples of people being over-zealous pricks about religion

Please don't misunderstand, I definitely think that religious intolerance is well represented in the game, I merely think that the player should be free to convert without any kind of requirements at least once in their life (perhaps for a penalty). :)