This week we are taking a look at a unique set of missions for Syracusae; the dominant Greek power in Sicily known for its tyrants, resistance to siege, and, of course, the mathematician Archimedes.
The Magna Graecia content pack will include 4 mission trees for this city which centre on securing control of eastern Sicily, expelling the Carthaginians from the island, and dominating the Italiote colonies of southern Italy. A fourth tree will give you the chance to unseat the tyrant of Syracuse and re-establish a republic, but coups are not exactly certain affairs…
Let's take a look at these trees one by one and cover the opportunities they present to this historic city.
Leadership of the Siceliotes
Syracuse has been scrapping with the other Siceliote cities for centuries, and the latest tyrant Agathokles has almost succeeded in securing total control of the east. Starting as a humble potter, he rose to power with the financial backing of his wife’s father, eventually crowning himself king of all Sicily in emulation of the diadochi.
Below we can see the tree, edited into one image.
This tree focuses on dominating all of eastern Sicily and developing Syracuse itself after the strife, purges, and constant warfare suffered by the city. This is intended to be the first tree of a Syracuse play-through and to put them in good stead to go toe-to-toe with the Carthaginians.
Securing the rival city of Akragas will allow you to reap the benefits of its many temples (and their treasuries), there are opportunities for making eastern Sicily into a agricultural powerhouse through its famous grain, and the island of Ortygia's fortifications and Holy Site to the nymph Arethousa can be expanded.
If the situation is dire, the famous Italic mercenaries who have made a living off centuries of warfare on the island can be approached, granting a significant but temporary reduction in the cost of their services.
The Sicilian-Punic conflicts could easily be a game in their own right, spanning centuries of bitter struggles, always resulting in an uneasy stalemate. In recent history, the defeat of Dionysios I of Syracuse was close, but lead to Carthaginian domination of the Hellenic cities of Selinous, Herakleia Minoa, and Therma. Avenging these defeats is the first step to reconquering western Sicily.
After deposing Dionysios' son and restoring a republic, Timoleon only narrowly succeeded in defending Hellenic Sicily from a huge Carthaginian invasion, purportedly defeating their army despite almost impossible odds and slaughtering their native contingent - creating a general Punic reluctance to send their own sons to battle, instead relying mainly on mercenaries.
Not long ago, Agathokles was repulsed after an initially successful invasion of Carthaginian Africa, and an uneasy peace has once again ceded western Sicily to Punic subjugation.
Expanding the Syracusan navy, fortifying strategic locations, and igniting revolt in the subdued Hellenic cities will help turn the tide against the Punics once and for all.
Rebuilding the levelled city of Himera would be a symbolic victory over the Carthaginians, who slaughtered its entire Greek population over a hundred years earlier.
If enough of the island is reconquered, the Punics may be persuaded to at last cut their losses and cede the rest for a fair sum.
Hegemon of Magna Graecia
With the throne of Sicily secure, the natural avenue of expansion is southern Italy across Charybdis’ strait. The squabbling Italiote cities cry out for aid against their growing Italic neighbours, and Syracuse has many opportunities in the region.
This tree will be available after completing either of the above, and will provide alternative methods for bringing the Italiote cities under your influence as well as a few other boons as a reward for becoming the leading Greek power in Magna Graecia.
Italiote feudatories seeking protection from the Italic tribes may be acquired diplomatically, the powerful Greek states to the east may support you as a bulwark of Hellenic civilisation, and the benefits of the historic cities of Kroton and Taras can be reaped in exchange for investment.
Next we'll take a look at a tree of an entirely different kind.
Death to Tyrants
Sicily is known for its cruel tyrants; ambitious men who seized power of their cities and introduced delights such as the Brazen Bull of Phalaris. This tree will allow you to overthrow the illegitimate monarchy of Syracuse and restore the old republic, though you will need some help.
After selecting a suitable leader, republican revolutionaries will be able to choose between starting a civil war or attempting a coup, both of which will result in a republic being established if successful.
To Arms will start a civil war, but help must be secured from another country; either a Greek republic (attempting to recreate Timoleon's expedition) or a foreign power nearby such as Carthage (though they will want something in return).
Damokles' Lesson will attempt a coup after securing the support of the tyrant's heir or their mercenaries, the latter of which will demand payment if successful.
None of these potential plots are guaranteed to succeed, and there a number of ways for your best laid plans to go wrong even after the tyrant has been removed.
If you do manage to succeed, Syracusae will become a republic once more, restoring Timoleon's laws and undoing the wrongs of Agathokles. If not, this tree can be repeated, though you will have to wait 20 years between attempts.
Arheo here, and I believe I promised some info on the retake of the holdings mechanic!
With the advent of Archimedes, I took the opportunity to enhance the holdings system a little. Due to the sheer amount of territories, subdividing each territory N times by creating multiple holdings therein, was difficult to display - as well as make them matter to a player.
Now, there will only be one ‘holding’ per territory. This holding, rather than a physical structure, represents the controlling stake in the industry of a territory. This also gives us the opportunity to represent the Holding owner with a portrait, giving the mechanic a little more character:
Holdings will still grant the owner Powerbase and income, with the income relative to the output of the territory in which the holding is present.
Holdings will predominantly be purchased and owned by Heads of Family, and they’ll continue to squabble and scheme over them, with even more ferocity than before. Holdings can in fact only be granted to heads of family, although in some cases, they can end up being owned by other characters. We’ve also abolished a holding limit: the only thing stopping characters owning more holdings, is wealth.
Holdings now have their own map-mode, so you can easily see the distribution of power in your nation, as well as foreign nations:
Overall, this leads to some interesting power dynamics that occur with the death of heads-of-family, as all holdings immediately transfer to the next in line, putting an awful lot of power suddenly in the hands of a potentially disloyal character. In addition, the rise and fall of families can lead to some interesting holding-related power mechanics, as fallen families will eventually shed holdings, as the ex-HoF passes away.
Nb: Characters who join a civil war will try to bring along territories in which they have a controlling stake. This can lead to some... fun situations.
That's all for this DD; see you next week for more.