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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
Hello, I'm Crusader Kings II developer Goosecreature. You may remember me from such Developer Diaries as "Events and Decisions" and "The Heathens are Coming." Today I'll be talking a bit about - you guessed it - the events and decisions of The Old Gods. This expansion will introduce many of these and not just for the Vikings.

As a Norse Pagan, you can hold a blot every nine years during winter. This is a good way of making your vassals like you more, and it is somewhat similar to a feast with one big difference – the human sacrifice. During a blot, four random prisoners will be brought up from your dungeon and you will have to decide whether or not to sacrifice them to the Allfather for prestige and piety. If you have no prisoners, some nameless thralls will be sacrificed instead but this won't bring you nearly as much renown. Anyone can be sacrificed, including close family members, but you will earn extra piety if your victim is a Christian or a Muslim. These are harsh times and the world is not a friendly place.

View attachment CKII_ToG_DD_05_Blot_Sacrifice.jpg

Another way of increasing your prestige is to commission a runestone. This can be done only once in a character's lifetime, and you can choose to devote it either to yourself or one of your parents. The Scandinavian dueling tradition of holmgång is also in the game, and Norse characters can, under certain circumstances, challenge each other to single combat on an isolated islet. There are also events for Norse characters leaving to join the Varangian Guard, the discovery of Greenland and Vinland, characters gaining the Viking or Berserker traits, the appearance of the Jomsvikings and the Seljuks, völur (mystic seers) joining your court, and many more.

View attachment CKII_ToG_DD_05_Holmgang.jpg

The Mongols will have a decision to hold the nerge, a great hunt in which most of their army participates. This is in essence a massive military training exercise that sees the different wings of the Mongol army coordinating maneuvers and driving wildlife before them in close formation. Once encircled, the wildlife is killed and the army gains both provisions and invaluable experience working together as a single fighting force. Doing this will give your armies a morale boost.

Suomenusko pagans will be able to hold the Ukon Juhla festival, where they worship the god Ukko in the hope of improving their harvests. For Romuva pagans, the Užgavenes festival can be held in spring, where effigies to winter are burnt and the coming of summer is celebrated. Finally, Slavic pagans can hold a festival in the name of the god Jarilo, in which a random vassal is given the honor of representing Jarilo and paraded around wearing bells and other glamorous clothing.

View attachment CKII_ToG_DD_05_Jarilo.jpg

This doesn't cover everything, but as I wanted to write a bit about something else, it will have to do for now.

There have been a lot of requests for us to go into more detail on the Zoroastrians, which is something we hadn't originally planned to do for the Dev Diaries. In order to please YOU (yes, you in particular), the next part of this diary will be devoted to them.

For those who aren't familiar with it, Zoroastrianism is an ancient religion that originated in Persia. It predates the Abrahamic faiths by quite a bit, and was the state religion of the Achaemenid, Parthian and Sassanid empires. Its decline as a major religion came with the Arab invasion of Persia and the spread of Islam in the 7th century, but pockets would still remain in the Central Asian hinterlands of the former Sassanid Empire centuries later.

View attachment CKII_ToG_DD_05_Zoroastrian_Persia.jpg

By 867, the common folk in several parts of Persia still cling to Zoroastrianism but they are the subjects of Muslim rulers and their conversion to the Mohammedan faith is only a matter of time. Just north of these domains, along the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea, Satrap Vandad of the Karen dynasty rules the last independent Zoroastrian realm on the map. This is a challenging starting position and reclaiming Persia and its holy sites for the Zoroastrian faith will not be easy, but it can be done.

Zoroastrianism is not a member of the Pagan religious group, and so they have no need to reform their religion. They will start the game in 867 without a High Priest, but if you hold the Persian Empire there is a decision to restore the position of the Moabadan-Moabad (the Priest of Priests). Just like the Pope, this priest can grant divorces and sanction invasions against other Zoroastrian realms. You'll probably be the only one at this point, so this likely won't do you much good unless your carefully built Zoroastrian empire fragments in civil war.

Also, Zoroastrian rulers are able to enter holy marriages with close relatives of the opposite gender. Such a sacred union will increase their standing among vassals, but producing a healthy heir may become a problem... fortunately, you can always fall back on your concubines for that.

View attachment CKII_ToG_DD_05_The_Zoroastrian_Church.jpg

If you manage to stage a miraculous Zoroastrian recovery and reclaim the Persian Empire, you will have the option of declaring yourself the Saoshyant, the chosen savior of the world mentioned in prophecy by Zoroaster himself. This will not only earn you a new nickname, but you will also get a new trait that significantly boosts the opinion of all Zoroastrian characters towards you. All future descendants of the Saoshyant will also get a less powerful version of this trait, even if they convert to a different religion.

That's all I have for now. I hope you'll have a pleasant Wednesday!
 
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Kraxis

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Yay!!!

Holmgang and Blot... yes! Prisoners suddenly become interactive and more than mere moneybags and temporary opinion boosters. Quite the rough treatment, but I welcome more uses for prisoners. And who can't love duels?
I like the idea of the Slavic feast, if a bit limited honestly. Love the Mongol (not Tengri?) practice, though I don't know how much they need better morale.
 
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EldarPanic

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Omg I've waited all day for this
 

unmerged(457435)

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Hello, thanks!

Could you tell me more about CoAs - will they change their style when I change my religion? (ex: from Pagan to Christian; from Pagan to Muslim, etc..)
 
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unmerged(606777)

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Yarilo? You please me, Paradox.






But what does this parade actually give to you?
 
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imperium3

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Can Zoroastrians (presumably either the Moabadan-Moabad or the Saoshyant) call crusades?

How moddable will the trait for being descendent of a Saoshyant be? Will it be hardcoded like Sayyid/Mirza or will we be able to designate our own directly inherited traits (unless that's already possible)?
 

Kraxis

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Can Zoroastrians (presumably either the Moabadan-Moabad or the Saoshyant) call crusades?
Given that the Reformed Norse and the other reformed pagans can, I would assume so.
 

DukeDayve

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Looks good. I've finally decided who I'll play as first - the only independent Zoroastrian faction on the map. Zoroastrianism will be making a comeback.
 

Gemberkoekje

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Can Zoroastrians (presumably either the Moabadan-Moabad or the Saoshyant) call crusades?

As far as I can tell they can call crusades, but as you will be the only person with said faith, it (normally) wouldn't do you much good over a normal holy war.
 

Tapscott

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Awesome! I can't tell you how delighted I am that the different pagan faiths got different icons! :D
 

Goosecreature

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Can Zoroastrians (presumably either the Moabadan-Moabad or the Saoshyant) call crusades?

How moddable will the trait for being descendent of a Saoshyant be? Will it be hardcoded like Sayyid/Mirza or will we be able to designate our own directly inherited traits (unless that's already possible)?

Yes, they can. The Saoshyant trait will work the same as Sayyid/Mirza.
 

riadach

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Can Zoroastrians (presumably either the Moabadan-Moabad or the Saoshyant) call crusades?

If you look at the page which shows the holy sites, you'll see at the stop it says "No Great Holy War called". I imagine that means yes.

This also means only the Orthodox and Miaphysites will not be able to holy war for kingdoms.
 

Kraxis

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As far as I can tell they can call crusades, but as you will be the only person with said faith, it (normally) wouldn't do you much good over a normal holy war.
In a crusade-styled war your vassals can join with their own private armies. That means the potential power is quite a bit greater. But the main issue will be that it is a limited option, given that it is practically only Persia you can 'crusade' for.

By the way, nice combination of christian and muslim icons for the Zorros. Simple and easy to understand, yet clearly different.
 

CzokletMuss

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Are they more flavour events for Slavs? Maybe something like ideas posted here: forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?687248-Slavic-Flavour-Events? What about Slav holy sites?
In context with Norse, Tengri or even Zoroastrian they look very boring (in terms of game mechanics) and I think there should be more options when playing Slavs. Not to mention that there was quite a lot of them in this period:

OXdXqS2.jpg
 

riadach

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As far as I can tell they can call crusades, but as you will be the only person with said faith, it (normally) wouldn't do you much good over a normal holy war.

Except you can target a kingdom, as opposed to just a duchy.
 

Tapscott

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Wait, they did?

As far as I can see, yep! Norse have their own icon, whereas before they shared generic pagan symbol! Hopefully this has been expanded to all other pagan groups.
 

Mattobro

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Wait, they did?

Look at the first screenshot, the character info for the king has a unique symbol for the norse religion instead of the generic germanic symbol that has been seen in the previous dev diaries.

Edit: Ninja'd.