CK3 Dev Diary #18 - Men-at-Arms, Mercenaries and CBs

CK3 Dev Diary #18 - Men-at-Arms, Mercenaries and CBs

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Hello everyone, and welcome back!

This week we’ll be talking about a lot of additional details surrounding warfare. Just a few bits and pieces that have changed since CK2.

Casus Belli
One thing that is as it ever was, however, is that you need a Casus Belli to go to war, and that CB determines what happens when the war is won (or lost!). The most common ones are for pressing claims, as you’re familiar with from CK2. In different situations there will be a different options, of course, and some are even unlocked in special ways, such as the ones unlocked by perks, as shown off in the Diplomacy Lifestyle dev diary.
Declare war view.PNG

War Declaration Cost
One thing that has changed a little is the fact that different CBs come with different “declaration costs” attached to them. This is usually Prestige or Piety, depending on whether you are starting a war against a fellow believer or someone from another faith. On the other hand, we don’t want to keep you from taking advantage of a great opportunity just because you’re missing 10 Prestige at a crucial moment, so the costs are optional, in a sense.

You can declare a war without paying its cost, at which point you’ll instead pay something bigger, such as a Level of Fame or Devotion.

Levels of Fame/Devotion brings their own benefits, so ideally you want to avoid this, but it’s not as big a problem as - say - truce breaking. It’s not going to cripple your play, just set you back a little bit in exchange for getting to raise your armies and take some new titles while your enemy is weak. This is also one of the ways that Piety and Prestige gain has become more valuable than it was in CK2. You want to use it for more stuff, and it’s always useful to have lying around!

Men-at-Arms
We have talked about armies before, where we talked about the difference between your levies and your Men-at-Arms. Your levies are your unwashed masses, indistinguishable peasants more than willing to die for the few measly pieces of gold you throw their way. Men-at-Arms, on the other hand, are more specialist troops, and the component that gives you more control over precisely how you win your wars. They are in many ways your elite troops, ready to march through mountains and marshes for you.
MaA view.PNG

You have a maximum number of Men-at-Arms regiment slots for your army, and in addition they have an upkeep cost. It’s small when they’re unraised, but the moment you have them stand up to go to war, they’ll demand a lot more pay!

Even though you can max out your MaA slots, there are other ways you can expand your army. Each MaA regiment can be increased a set number of times, to field even more of your deadly warriors. This will naturally increase their maintenance cost as well (both raised and unraised) so think twice before hiring twice as many soldiers!

There are many different types of MaA regiments, and what their type is determines a number of things, such as what terrain they are good at fighting in, and what kind of MaA Regiments they are good at countering, or get countered by. Over time, you may also be able to acquire new types of MaA Regiments. This means that the bulk of armies are likely to be quite different if you start in 867 compared to when you reach the end of the game.
Create MaA view.PNG

MaAs also include siege engines, which is one of the easiest way of speeding up your land grabs. However, siege weapons are almost useless in regular combat, and taking them uses up one of your MaA slots, so it’s a decision that has to be carefully thought through.
MaA siege engine.PNG

In addition to a standard slate of MaA types, different cultures gain access to different unique MaAs. These will vary greatly across the world, but are generally specialised in the conditions of warfare that’s typical for the culture in question.
Camel Riders.PNG

You will also be able to look at battle reports to get an indication of what kind of impact specific types of MaAs have on your battles. This can let you figure out whether your strategies are paying off, or whether it’s finally time to get some Pikemen to counter the Light Cavalry that your rival is always fielding.

So to sum it all up, Men-at-Arms are great for countering specific troop types, adjusting to specific types of terrain, and directly bolstering the number of soldiers in your army! Sometimes, strategising and countering isn’t enough, however, and that’s where Mercenaries come in!

Mercenaries
Mercenaries are familiar to any CK2 player, of course, but they have changed a little now.

First of all, you no longer pay monthly maintenance for them. Instead you pay their cost for three years up front, and then they’re yours for that time to use as you see fit. They’ll stay with you through thick and thin (although mostly the thick of battle).
Mercenary company screenshot 3.PNG

Once the three years are almost up, you’ll receive an alert warning you that the Mercenaries are about to pack up and get on their way! You’ll then have the opportunity to pay them for another three years of service. This also means that they aren't going to betray you the second you go into debt, which I know will sadden a lot of you, but this new system makes it a lot easier to keep track of what you have and don't have during war.

So Mercenaries are an expensive way of doing warfare, but sometimes it’s the only way you’ll survive. However, in order to find a Mercenary Company that fits you in both size and shape, we have a new system for generating them to make sure there's always a wide range to choose from.
Mercenary Hire view 2.PNG

Each culture generates between one and three Mercenary companies depending on the number of counties of that culture, with each additional company being bigger and more expensive than the previous one. They will also pick a county of their culture to keep as their headquarters, and will be available to be hired by anyone within a certain range of that county.

With each culture generating Mercenaries, their names and coats of arms are either picked from a generated list of names specific to their culture so that you can get historical or particularly flavourful companies in there.

On top of everything else, Mercenary companies come with one or more specific Men-at-Arms types, which means that you may want to consider not only which company is the biggest one you can afford, but which is the best suited for the war you’re about to fight.

This should all offer you a lot of varied strategies for how you go about your wars. Is it worth saving up for the CB cost or mercenary-Gold ahead of time? What Men-at-Arms should you be using against your ancestral enemies? Who would win in a fight between the the White Company and the Company of the Hat??

You’ll just have to wait until release to see...
 

MrNewVegas

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Honestly, another dev diary on one of the most disappointing simplifications of the feudal system, combined with another reminder the war system is unchanged, is not what CK3 needs right now.
Unless piety and prestige is actually scarce (which it never was in CK2, but also this was a good thing) the cost of war is pointless.
Why does war cost piety, or prestige, or fame, or devotion? A won war should never cost anything so intangible, only a lost war, which was already a mechanic.
 

chelvo

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Interesting.
Is this gonna make not taking crap land actually something the AI considers, as the prestige or piety cost is gonna outweigh the potential gain?
 

treb

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Yet another step back from ck2...

Why do wars even need a cost in prestige/devotion? What does how prestigious you are have to do with the ability to declare wars? This just seems like mana by any other name.

Men at arms are watered down retinues.

the only improvement is mercenaries
 
Last edited:

Denkt

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I think the risk with the mecenary companies is you will forget about paying them for the second time, like HOI4 Germany have MEFO Bills which you needed to check on every half year or so and if you forgot about it you would lose the bills which could be a big deal. Now they changed the system so you can pay in advance.

So it would be nice if some event pop up allowing you to pay the mercs for Another 3 years because it would not be fun to forget about them and suddenly 2/3 of your army is gone. I however like the idea of mercs being employed more long term, it mean you have to think more ahead about them.
 

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I think the risk with the mecenary companies is you will forget about paying them for the second time, like HOI4 Germany have MEFO Bills which you needed to check on every half year or so and if you forgot about it you would lose the bills which could be a big deal. Now they changed the system so you can pay in advance.

So it would be nice if some event pop up allowing you to pay the mercs for Another 3 years because it would not be fun to forget about them and suddenly 2/3 of your army is gone.
This is such a basic toggle to include I can't believe it wouldn't already exist
 

Denkt

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Another thing is if men at arms cost differently when unraised/raised, please show the potential cost of rasing your army so we have some idea how much Money we need to pay our army for a year, it is one of those quality of Life stuff that would be nice to have. Upgrading specific regiments can be quite alot of Micro if you have like 50 of them so I assume the numbers of regiments will be few and it is more about upgrading them rather than having more regiments.
 

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You have a maximum number of Men-at-Arms regiment slots for your army, and in addition they have an upkeep cost. It’s small when they’re unraised, but the moment you have them stand up to go to war, they’ll demand a lot more pay!
Based on the picture (which is understandably under development so numbers aren't set in stone), this character's army has a limit of 7 knights and 7 men-at-arms. This begs a few questions:
1. How is the maximum number of Men-at-arms and knights determined? Fame level? Title tier (county, duchy, kingdom, empire)?
2. Will the max number of knights always equal the max number of men-at-arms, or is the case displayed simply a coincidence?

I love the idea of weighing whether I want to bring siege weapons or not before the war starts, since it will undoubtedly lead to some just-before-war adjustments based on who I'm willing to attack. The downside is that we might get destroyed by a rival realm simply because our men-at-arms were designed to deal with Kingdom A, not Kingdom B (on the other side of my character's kingdom).
 

MarkFranz

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Question - will it be possible to raise the levies, knights and the man-at-arms separately from each other? Or only way to rise army is to press "Raise all armies" button?
 

RedEyeLord.Fire

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Will We be able to mod in our own men at arms regiments?
When we raise vassal troops do we get some of their men at arms or just levies?
 

Denkt

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The number of Knights depend on your fame level and can also be increase in other ways, like there is a building that increase them.
 

gtigers55

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I like the mercenary update. I think that having a range limit on hiring and paying the cost upfront is much better than risking the Mercs turning on you at a crucial point in the war. Doesn’t make sense to hire the Alan riders as Scotland so think that’s a fantastic addition?
 

Denkt

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It feels like this is a step towards a more basic system in most regards.

I'm starting to wonder whether the devs have forgotten that the RPG element of ck2 helped make a deep strategy game fun, not the other way around.
Well CK2 did not have a counter system, mercs could be raised and disbanded at will, no siege weapons, no Knights and so on.
 
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Yet another step back from ck2...

Why do wars even need a cost in prestige/devotion? What does how prestigious you are have to do with the ability to declare wars? This just seems like mana by any other name.

Men at arms are watered down retinues.

the only improvement is mercenaries
How is the war declaration a step back from CK2. It's literally exactly the same. Prestige/Piety cost was there before. "Men at arms are watered down retinues" doesn't seem like what you're talking about, so what is it? I don't get it.

Can people who are saying this is simpler explain what exactly they're referring to?
 

DominusNovus

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How will units like the Varangian Guard be represented?

Since the topic of armies developing over the course of the game came up, will gunpowder armed units be represented in the late game?
 
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Denkt

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Since the topic of armies developing over the course of the game came up, will gunpowder armed units be represented in the late game?
The only known gunpowder weapon yet is a siege cannon.