CK2 Dev Diary #68: Taming the Dragon

CK2 Dev Diary #68: Taming the Dragon

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

rageair

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Greetings!

Today I’d like to talk about what you can do should you decide that being in the Emperor’s good graces isn’t a priority. While most characters will want to pay tribute to China in order to reap benefits over a longer time, certain characters would rather give that up for short-term gain - or simply think themselves a contender to the Middle Kingdom…

You can take Hostile Actions towards China by entering a special menu located next to the portrait of the Western Governor in the China Screen. In this menu you will exclusively find actions that in one way or another displeases the Emperor - the most basic of examples being the decision to declare a war to free yourself from being an Imperial Tributary.
Hostile Actions.png


The three most interesting Hostile Actions you can take are the following three ones; Raiding China, Forcing China to Open Up and Invading China.

Raiding China
This action can only be taken if you own a province within a certain Geographical region, which includes Tibet, Mongolia and Eastern India. When you choose to Raid China, you give up a portion of your Levy and Levy Regain Rate (Manpower if Nomadic), a significant chunk of your Trade Income should you own any Silk Road Trade Posts, and the ability to Pay Tribute or Ask for Boons. You will also lose a static amount of Grace every month you Raid China. Raiding China will also paint a target on your head - should China go on the warpath, they might just visit you first...

When Raiding China you will, each year, receive loot taken from the outskirts of the Middle Kingdom. A random amount of Gold, Prestige and other treasures can be found when Raiding, making the interaction particularly attractive for smaller realms (i.e. the tribal peoples in Northern Tibet) and Nomads (as they rely heavily on prestige, and lack many sources of income).

There are many potential outcomes when Raiding China, while most often you will receive a modest amount of gold and prestige, sometimes you will receive something altogether more rare - your raiders can bring home vast treasures, artifacts, siege engineers (of questionable loyalty), concubines or even beasts from the Chinese wilderness…
Raiding China.png


Forcing China to Open Up
If China should turn inwards and become Isolationist you might find your empire without the massive benefits of the Silk Road. If you’re strong enough, you can try and make China open up the Silk Road again. This can be done in a multitude of ways - all which start with you negotiating with them:

Peaceful Negotiation - The Emperor might demand something from you in exchange for opening up - for example that you become his Tributary, or that you send back all Chinese characters in your court, etc.

War - If negotiations fail, you can decide to attack China in order to make them open up. This will act much like a normal war against China, with them bringing in forces from China proper to teach you a lesson in humility.

Being Sovereign on the Silk Road - If you control enough of the Silk Road yourself, you might decide to simply open the Silk Road again. This will NOT please China, who might retaliate with military force.

Should you succeed in opening up the Silk Road you will become Favored in Trade for a significant amount of years, increasing your Trade Post income by 100%.

Invading China
Invading China is no easy task - and reserved exclusively for massive empires with vast armies. Similarly to the Mongols, Invading China can be seen as an ‘end-game boss’, only that the war is started on your terms - when you feel ready to take them on.

In order to Invade China it needs to be either Stable or in a Golden Age, as this war represents less of an opportunistic land-grab and more a clash of titans. As China isn’t on the map, you will not be able to seize the Dragon Throne for your own character - but you will be able to seize it for your Dynasty! Before declaring the invasion, you select a Dynasty member (who doesn’t stand to inherit any land) to be the pretender to the Middle Kingdom.
Invade China.png


For as long as the war is going on, you will have a massive penalty to your Levy Regain rate (simulating troops seizing China Proper). In response, China will send a massive force westwards to challenge your armies - this army is vast, composed of high-quality troops and led by the very best Chinese commanders. The war itself focuses on battles and supremacy on the battlefield, rather than sieges - you will not be able to win this type of war by blitzing the lands of the Western Protectorate (should it have any), and neither will China be able to win it by just sieging your holdings. Typically, you will have to defeat about 75% of China's forces, along with reclaiming everything they might have sieged from you, in order to secure a victory.

Long-time players of CK2 might be vary of such a war, as the AI in CK2 tended to gather up all their troops in one massive doomstack - either suiciding to attrition, or in the case of attrition-free troops steamroll the opposition. After having playtested the Invasion we decided to revamp the AI in situations where it commands vast amounts of troops - they will now try and respect supply limits, though they will still want to stick close to other units and support them in potential battles. The following screenshot displays the new behaviour:
Chinese Troops Arrive.png


This means that to defeat China, your best bet is to lure them into mountain passes or use other terrain to your advantage.

If you win the Invasion of China, you will receive VAST rewards. You will immediately get a massive amount of gold, grace, prestige and artifacts (including all top-quality Chinese artifacts). You will also personally take any land the Western Protectorate might have had in the west. Your pretender will rise to the throne of China, forming a new Chinese-style dynasty, and your dynasty will be guaranteed to rule for at the very least 200 years. For as long as your dynasty rules, all landed members of your dynasty will receive a significant amount of grace every month - allowing them to tap into the vast resources of China much more easily than they would otherwise. Having your Dynasty on the throne also (practically…) guarantees that China won’t ever take hostile actions against you or your Dynasty.
Turkish China.png


Note that in addition to these hostile actions, remember that you can always attack China with normal CBs, seizing the land of the Western Protectorate. That, however, is a thing you would be wise to do while China is suffering from some kind of disaster, as then they’ll be able to call upon much fewer troops than if they would be stable.
 

luanmameili[LM]

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Pleased to see new pictures.

However, how could the Chinese Emperor likes AFRICAN Cultures? Is that completely random?
 

Thure

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It's time to conquere China as a Crusader King! Bring Latin Christianity to the Dragon!

Pleased to see new pictures.

However, how could the Chinese Emperor likes AFRICAN Cultures? Is that completely random?
He knows Africa exists. Why shouldn't he be able to like it?
 

Alex_vdR

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So - will anyone you install as emperor of china become taoist or do they stay their original religion? (The latter option would- as small as a reason that is, clash with the ,,Mandate of Heaven'' features, should you try to convert the game to EU4 - but at the same time I really want ro make a catholic china)
 

jyx12

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A shame china can only be held by a dynasty member rather than yourself. Kublai would be disappointed.

Speaking of, in the rise of the Mongols start, how's that sorted out?
 

Elden

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It's pretty stupid that you have to give China away to a relative. Should've just put it on the map!
 

rageair

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However, how could the Chinese Emperor likes AFRICAN Cultures? Is that completely random?
Semi-random, the culture needs to be within range of China. In this particular game an Ethiopian kingdom dominates the Silk Road in Egypt. :)

So - will anyone you install as emperor of china become taoist or do they stay their original religion? (The latter option would- as small as a reason that is, clash with the ,,Mandate of Heaven'' features, should you try to convert the game to EU4 - but at the same time I really want ro make a catholic china)
They stay their original religion - it's more fun that way, even though China tends to have a... problematic time in EU4 :p
 

Thure

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A shame china can only be held by a dynasty member rather than yourself. Kublai would be disappointed.

Speaking of, in the rise of the Mongols start, how's that sorted out?
Kublai Khans Empire wouldn't even be on the map for the most parts. Kublai Khan was a dynasty member who controlled China. Khublai Khan wasn't an on map character invading China.
 

Alex_vdR

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Also, does being emperor forever disqualify someone from inheritance on the actual map? That the pretender does not stand to inherit right now would not prevent him from inheritance down the line (let's say, the plague wipes out the rest of the dynasty). I don't think so much about the player (I imagine an instant game over, once you get inherited by china) but could it happen that china legit inherits an AI realm?
 

King Anund

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So it seems that when you place a dynasty member in the throne of China he becomes culturally Han and has a new dynasty and Empire name (the China name like Tang, Zhou, etc Empire). Is it completely random or it takes into account your own dynasty, culture, place of origin or something else?
 

Black Turtle

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Gaozu Muhtajid. That sounds historically accurate.

TIL when Kublai Khan conquered China he became Shizu Borjigin.
 

Thure

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So it seems that when you place a dynasty member in the throne of China he becomes culturally Han and has a new dynasty and Empire name (the China name like Tang, Zhou, etc Empire). Is it completely random or it takes into account your own dynasty, culture, place of origin or something else?
I'm pretty sure he stay the culture he is. Why should they switch to Han culture?
 

blackninja9939

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Also, does being emperor forever disqualify someone from inheritance on the actual map? That the pretender does not stand to inherit right now would not prevent him from inheritance down the line (let's say, the plague wipes out the rest of the dynasty). I don't think so much about the player (I imagine an instant game over, once you get inherited by china) but could it happen that china legit inherits an AI realm?
You cannot inherit China and China cannot inherit you. You do not game over, they are just ignored in inheritance.

So it seems that when you place a dynasty member in the throne of China he becomes culturally Han and has a new dynasty and Empire name (the China name like Tang, Zhou, etc Empire). Is it completely random or it takes into account your own dynasty, culture, place of origin or something else?
The person you put on as the Emperor of China does not change culture or get a new dynasty. They get a temple name and a new Empire name which in this case is Gaozu and the Han Empire.
 

Black Turtle

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So the giant Taoist symbol on the UI is just for show? It doesn't change to whatever religious symbol is the new religion?

But you couldn't be bothered to give Taoists their own UI and Tibetans unique shields?
 

blackninja9939

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Also if you place a Christian (or other religion without polygamy) in the throne of China he will still accept concubines?
Yep, the Emperor's glorious harem is not the subject to the beliefs of a religion. The harem is far more important.