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Dev Diary #143 - The Next Chapter

Greetings!

I’m @rageair, the Game Director for Crusader Kings III, and today I’m excited to present to you Chapter III - in this Dev Diary we’ll briefly go over the themes of each of the expansions that will make up the full package and take sneak a peek at their features!

Chapter III is definitely our most ambitious chapter yet, with a Core Expansion, Major Expansion, and an Event Pack (as well as an instant chapter unlock!) New ways of playing the game, and big, sweeping systems is the name of the game this year. Let's have a look, shall we!




Core Expansion - Legends of the Dead

Legends of the Dead is all about the map - specifically that which spreads throughout it! Core Expansions will, as mentioned in previous Dev Diaries, focus on broad systemic changes to the core gameplay loop, or high-impact systems that affect large parts of the game world. As this is our first Core Expansion, we wanted systems that were big and all-encompassing, affecting all rulers on the map in one way or another! With that said, here’s a high-level list of what you will see in the Expansion and its accompanying update:

Legends
Tales of your or your ancestors' epic deeds will travel across the map, spreading news of your glory across borders into foreign realms. Embellished tales of heroism or piety were a massive and common part of medieval life, and here we’re allowing you to write your own saga - quite literally! As your legend spreads, a book will be updated with your story - and events you get along the way may allow you to… alter certain aspects to suit you better, after all perhaps it was a dragon that your grandfather slew rather than a bear! The more your legend spreads across the map, and the more rulers that propagate it, the more famed it will become.

Plagues
Plagues are the second thing that spreads across the map, but unlike legends they are destructive and nefarious - with a promise to shake up the game! Deadly diseases can sweep across your lands, spawned by either random chance or the activity of armies, and they will destroy development and kill characters with a vengeance. All plagues are different, with varying effects - such as consumption ending the lives of elders with haste, measles shortening the lives of children, and Holy Fire (aka the Dancing Plague) making rulers… move erratically. Of course, there will be ways to combat and recover your lands from these terrible maladies!

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[Image - One of the ways plagues are visualized]

The Black Death
A looming threat that appears towards the later eras - there is no escape from the Black Death, no matter how much you prepare, the end is nigh!

Legitimacy
This is a new measurement of your right to rule and affects a whole host of other systems from factions, vassalization, and even title creation. Of course, this new value will heavily tie into both Legends and Plagues, but also a myriad of other systems. A legitimate ruler will have a much easier time running a realm… but some very tempting actions, such as unrightful title revocation, will decrease legitimacy - making it a precarious balancing act!


Major Expansion - Roads to Power

Climbing your way up from Count to Emperor is a challenge - but to claw your way up the treacherous political ladder of the Byzantine bureaucracy or claiming a new realm as a destitute Adventurer are more challenging yet! This Major Expansion introduces two brand new ways of playing the game, one focused on the Administrative governance of Eastern Rome, and the other on traveling the map in search of fame and fortune. These features have been oft-requested since the early days of Crusader Kings, and we thought it high time to do them - we're pulling out all the stops!

Imperial Administration
Take the reins of a powerful Noble Family within Byzantium and lobby for powerful governorships. Use your influence to improve your standing, improve your estate, and ultimately convince the other families that you should rule as emperor!

Adventurers
Set out across the world as a historical adventurer, one of your own making, or keep playing your beloved character after being unfortunately deposed from your lands! Travel to distant realms, take on contracts, gather friends, wealth, and fame - do mercenary work, or settle in new lands.

Everything Byzantium
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this expansion will be dripping with Byzantine flavor. From imperial fashion to new buildings, historical flavor, beautiful mosaics, and much more - the game will immerse you in the setting with a passion.

image2.jpg

[Image - Everyone likes grapes]


Event Pack - Wandering Nobles

Travel is a mechanic that really connects your characters to the map, and in this Event Pack we want to flesh the mechanic out with even more reasons to travel, and things that can happen on the road - new sights to see, new paths to take, and new stories to weave together into an immersive narrative!

Is it about the journey, or the destination? Your characters can decide for themselves as they engage with a new Traveler Lifestyle!

Instant Unlock - Couture of the Capets

The French were a fancy lot, and with this Instant Unlock you can admire their splendor during the high medieval period. As always we’ve put a lot of effort into research to make sure that the clothes are not only glorious, but as historical as we can make them!



That’s it for now! Next week we’ll begin posting Dev Diaries for Legends of the Dead, so keep your eyes out! Also, a reminder that Chapter III is available right now, and if you purchase it now you will immediately get access to the Couture of the Capets (as well as the expansions as soon as they are released, of course!)

We’re very excited to show off the work we’ve done, this really is the biggest chapter we’ve ever done! Until next time!
 
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You are talking about ancestors. But suggestion was about the ruler I play right now. I will be convinced if there are many examples of rulers deposed because of commoner spouses.
Well, there is absolutely no problem within the legitimacy system to apply penalties to the next heir.
 
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I know this might be a little off-topic, but thinking about things that might come to the game in the future, are you (as in the devs) considering adding Steam Deck support at some point? I figure it would be a fairly natural addition since there's already a console version of the game and the Steam Deck is very popular.
 
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You are talking about ancestors. But suggestion was about the ruler I play right now. I will be convinced if there are many examples of rulers deposed because of their spouses were commoners.
It certainly didn’t help Edward IV of England, whose marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, a member of the minor nobility, caused a big political blowback (which I think in-game would be modelled by a hit to legitimacy). The Privy Council told Edward that "she was no wife for a prince such as himself, for she was not the daughter of a duke or earl."
 
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It certainly didn’t help Edward IV of England, whose marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, a member of the minor nobility, caused a big political blowback (which I think in-game would be modelled by a hit to legitimacy). The Privy Council told Edward that "she was no wife for a prince such as himself, for she was not the daughter of a duke or earl."
All very fine, but the fly in the ointment at Game Start is that there's a serious scarcity of "appropriate" females for a ruler, or their heirs to marry, which could very easily translate into Instant Illegitimacy for the heirs of a dynasty just starting out in 867 or 1066
 
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So most of the flavour pack dlc's also brought system overhauls that were not part of the dlc's such as building rework etc. will we see stuff like that on top of the dlcs?
(im sure there will be free patches, because that is standard, but other than free stuff linked to dlcs) because if not then the chapter 3 might be decievingly meaty. I also wish'd that the event pack actually came together with the roads to power as that seems like a perfect fit for landless play.

Personally i dont rly care about byz at all. ive only got 1 campaign there it was for an achievement i quit right after. If you start as the byzantines its like starting a game that is 95% completeted. By the time im the size of the byzantine empire i usually quit, too easy to overthrow as well.

Looking forward to see the landless play, didnt think i wanted that, but my interest is piqued. Wonder how, replayable it is.
Eccentric lunatic poet?
Hunter & wandering knight?
Councillor/Regent ? (overthrowing/greedy)
Joining the heathen army as a random viking (wandering knight ish)
Aiding/guiding a ruler of your choice (Finally i can *possibly* aid Haraldr tanglehair/fairhair to become king of norway, without having to do some really gamey stuff to become his vassal or straight up give him the title)
 
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Will Roads to Power bring back thing like ally orders and the HF Byzantine cultures back from CK2?
 
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All very fine, but the fly in the ointment at Game Start is that there's a serious scarcity of "appropriate" females for a ruler, or their heirs to marry, which could very easily translate into Instant Illegitimacy for the heirs of a dynasty just starting out in 867 or 1066
I think that's actually good, the start game should be harder. I always found it weird how so many times i could marry a lowborn and no one says anything about it. Slight change of topic but I think legitimacy may even help things like England, usually when you take England as William you almost never have the north rebel against you unless you force them to.
 
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On the topic of marrying lowborns in relation to legitimacy, I do think there should be different effects depending on the culture. For example, within Byzantium it was less controversial for an emperor to marry somebody from the provinces (such as Irene of Athens) than it would've been in Western Europe.
 
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I prefer Kaldellis' understanding that terming pronoia - even the Palaiologoi inheritable version - as "quasi-feudalism" is about as accurate as calling a deer a "horse".
If one views oaths of fealty and sworn service as the base for their definition of feudalism, then I would agree on that regard.

If one views feudalism as the social and economic dominance of a landowning, most often martial, elite over certain regions, maintaining and fostering a heightened degree of autonomy in the face of their king, then Byzantium after the striking down of the Isaurian laws protecting the small-holding free farmers, can most certainly be called "quasi-feudal".

I think feudalism, as a term is all of the above, which is why I use the term "quasi-", but I think it's undeniable that there was a brief period of Byzantine history, around 20-30 years before the 4th crusade, during which the empire almost followed in the footsteps of the political fragmentation of post-Carolingian France, which led to the feudalism we all know and probably don'tt love (or do so out of mere fascination).
 
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All very fine, but the fly in the ointment at Game Start is that there's a serious scarcity of "appropriate" females for a ruler, or their heirs to marry, which could very easily translate into Instant Illegitimacy for the heirs of a dynasty just starting out in 867 or 1066
There are plenty of appropriate candidates for marriage, there just aren’t many that also can jump start your eugenics program. Which is good, it should be a lot harder to do that.
 
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For example, within Byzantium it was less controversial for an emperor to marry somebody from the provinces (such as Irene of Athens) than it would've been in Western Europe.
Good point, having character culture impact the various elements that constitute legitimacy; conversely, deme (urban gangs in Constantinople) support should be a big thing for the Romans, but since London and Paris don't hold sports events in venues that could hold over 10% of their urban pop, urban gang support should be a smaller thing for English and French kings.
I still do wonder how the devs plan to simulate what essentially was taking a public office (actually a whole bunch of it) and making it run in yout family.
If one views feudalism as the social and economic dominance of a landowning, most often martial, elite over certain regions, maintaining and fostering a heightened degree of autonomy in the face of their king, then Byzantium after the striking down of the Isaurian laws protecting the small-holding free farmers, can most certainly be called "quasi-feudal".
Expanding the definition of feudalism to so wide a degree would lump Late Tang jiedushi, themata, timarlis and iqtadars all into "quasi-feudalism". Makes the term rather useless.
I personally reserve the use of quasi-feudalism to say, Armenian nakharars. 3-7th century Armenia was quite different from 12-13th century France, but at least these two were more similar than say, a 16th-century timarli and a 13th century French knight.
 
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Legitimacy SHOULD be culture dependant for sure it'll be crazy if it wasn't, like if we are being for real what makes you a legitimate ruler in the kievan rus does not make you a legitimate ruler in the eyes of in France if you rule France.
 
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Regarding the impact of marrying commoners on legitimacy, it should give no more than a moderate decrease. If a ruler has a long history of keeping promises, maintaining good relationships with their vassals, winning victory on the battlefield, & otherwise proving they do, in fact- by the standards of their faith & culture, anyway- have the divine right to rule, then marrying below their station shouldn’t make everyone start questioning their right & ability to wear the crown.

Now, if a ruler already had legitimacy issues, that’s a different story, and being known as the child of a commoner should make it a bit more difficult for your heir to establish themselves- but if a ruler already had unimpeachable legitimacy, then marrying a commoner should be but a minor scandal.
 
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Regarding the impact of marrying commoners on legitimacy, it should give no more than a moderate decrease. If a ruler has a long history of keeping promises, maintaining good relationships with their vassals, winning victory on the battlefield, & otherwise proving they do, in fact- by the standards of their faith & culture, anyway- have the divine right to rule, then marrying below their station shouldn’t make everyone start questioning their right & ability to wear the crown.

Now, if a ruler already had legitimacy issues, that’s a different story, and being known as the child of a commoner should make it a bit more difficult for your heir to establish themselves- but if a ruler already had unimpeachable legitimacy, then marrying a commoner should be but a minor scandal.
And all of this should be modified by culture. If you have Ruling Caste, everything you just said shouldn't matter and it should be almost a death knell for your reign. If you are egalitarian, it should matter less.
 
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I'm pleased with the direction Chapter 3 is taking in developing more depth to gameplay as opposed to just fleshing out specific regions. I've been asking for a (Ck2) Reaper's Due style expansion from the beginning, to add more mortality and danger (i.e., realism) to what is currently a very safe and cozy medieval world. While this isn't the most popular part of the update with the wider community, I think it will add more enjoyment than people think to make the game world a more accurate reflection of historical living conditions in the period. Disease was rampant and frightening, and child mortality was dreadfully high, which dragged down overall life expectancy considerably. Perhaps a difficulty slider can be added for disease outbreak frequency and other such features, to allow those who like playing in a fantasy cartoon world to have the option to continue to do so.

The ERE/Byzantine update is much needed, and I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with. The imperial government never worked well in Ck2, but even that was better than the straight up feudal system that is currently in place. If you decide to go in depth like you did in Persia, I could see the ERE being a very fun to place to play.

Being able to play as landless characters adds a lot more replay and roleplay opportunities, so I think that's a good idea as well. The further implementation of traveling the map is a good idea, too. I hope wanderers will be adjusted with this as well. Currently when a character becomes a wanderer, they warp en-masse from one end of the map to the other, end up marrying into local baron/city level titles (oddly disregarding the normal interfaith marriage restrictions), and turn the whole map into a modern mash-up that looks more genetically diverse than is historically accurate. Marco Polo was the exception to the rule - intrepid travelers of these sort were uncommon in the medieval era.
 
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I'm pleased with the direction Chapter 3 is taking in developing more depth to gameplay as opposed to just fleshing out specific regions. I've been asking for a (Ck2) Reaper's Due style expansion from the beginning, to add more mortality and danger (i.e., realism) to what is currently a very safe and cozy medieval world. While this isn't the most popular part of the update with the wider community, I think it will add more enjoyment than people think to make the game world a more accurate reflection of historical living conditions in the period. Disease was rampant and frightening, and child mortality was dreadfully high, which dragged down overall life expectancy considerably. Perhaps a difficulty slider can be added for disease outbreak frequency and other such features, to allow those who like playing in a fantasy cartoon world to have the option to continue to do so.

The ERE/Byzantine update is much needed, and I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with. The imperial government never worked well in Ck2, but even that was better than the straight up feudal system that is currently in place. If you decide to go in depth like you did in Persia, I could see the ERE being a very fun to place to play.

Being able to play as landless characters adds a lot more replay and roleplay opportunities, so I think that's a good idea as well. The further implementation of traveling the map is a good idea, too. I hope wanderers will be adjusted with this as well. Currently when a character becomes a wanderer, they warp en-masse from one end of the map to the other, end up marrying into local baron/city level titles (oddly disregarding the normal interfaith marriage restrictions), and turn the whole map into a modern mash-up that looks more genetically diverse than is historically accurate. Marco Polo was the exception to the rule - intrepid travelers of these sort were uncommon in the medieval era.
I think the key thing here is increasing difficulty through mechanics. Things like epidemics or legitimacy crises can potentially make the game more difficult, but you should be able to mitigate this damage by preparing properly and understanding gameplay mechanics. This should make it more popular than random harm events were, where a lot of players felt like they were just being arbitrarily kneecapped by random chance.
 
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