- Aug 27, 2013
Features I Would Like to See in CK3
EDIT: This thread was made before CK3's announcement, but I think it's still relevant.
Few months ago, I started thinking about the core limitations of CK2 and, even though I hope its development to continue for some time, I wrote what I would like to be implemented in the next game.
I would like to have your opinion on this.
Here we go:
Rise and fall of empires: Authority mechanic
Prestige and Muslim Decadence could be replaced by a modifier I called “Authority”. It represents the political influence or power strength of a character over their fellows. While not being a frustrating anti-blobbing mechanic, it actually makes large expanding empires harder and harder to manage without implosion. No more late game boredom! Instead it becomes trickier to play…
(“Authority” is a word I'm going to use a lot in there… you are warned!)
It also gives more depth to interactions with vassals. In CK2, you have the same power over every vassal whereas in reality some were more autonomous or rebellious than others… Authority handles this.
>> How does it work?
Each title, rank, religious support, piece of land, honorary/courtly title, and councilor/commander office a character got would add base points as long as they are kept. Further temporary points can be added or removed from this base depending on war/battle successes or defeats, marriages, specific events or most of what gave Prestige in CK2. Those increase or decrease instantly your Authority (and can cumulate), even though the total amount will slowly come back the basis, given time.
Note that the quantity instantly gained or lost from conflicts depends on the relative strength of the enemy: defeating a powerful empire as a middle-sized kingdom is more prestigious than bullying a tiny county. Same logic with the rank of your spouse for example (don’t marry lowborn nobodies, you fool!)
The more the difference between your Authority and that of one of your vassals is great, the less he is rebellious and the more he pays taxes and gives you troops (following laws beside of that). Most of the time vassals have less Authority than their liege, but as it’s dynamic you’ll sometimes get subjects with more than you…
These will rebel more, attract more people in their factions*, gain more easily council support* and more votes in elective monarchies*. They will actively seek independence (if at the edge of the realm) or try to usurp your titles (if close to capital). They also win elections over you in republics and become khagan upon ruler’s death in hordes.
(*all of this because of the new diplomacy mechanics I’ll talk about below)
And subjects WILL try to get more and more Authority. You should either increase yours to counteract that or find a way to undermine theirs!
“Wait, won’t opinion become useless?” Nope! Subjects with higher Authority than their liege but liking him wont rebel. But they will ask more freedom/gifts to be content and maintaining a high opinion. You may bully petty lords as long as the great ones are your friends! (and bullying someone’s enemy could even increase the former’s opinion of you!... )
Speaking of it, neighboring lords bordering your realm with high opinion and lower Authority will likely accept peaceful vassalisation (for something in return… more on that below).
Note that the Authority perceived by characters isn’t the same everywhere. Outside of your de jure territory, the distance to capital reduces progressively your perceived Authority over landed vassals. You control more easily someone whose capital is next to yours than one who is far away with the same amount of Authority. In addition to fostering distant vassals’ rebelliousness, this rule will stop kings and emperors from diplomatically vassalizing every petty lord around (their “superiority” diminishing with distance). This also makes unlimited expansion hard but not impossible. You can always soften the reduction hit with more Authority, laws, better technology or government… However, for the sake of World Conquest lovers, game rules could allow distance reduction-free campaigns.
“That’s a lot of information to check! It would be a mess! ” Don’t worry! We just need a new vassal tab which for each realm (and subrealm) displays direct subjects from the most “autonomous” (highest relative and distance-perceived Authority) at the top to the least petty baron at the bottom. Yes, kinda like the society members lists.
You guessed it: with larger realms, the risks of troubles with distant subjects are higher, leading to conflicts, perhaps leading to Authority losses, leading to even more independence revolts… the situation may degenerate quickly unless a strong ruler (or a good player) stop the fall. You could be tempted to conquer other lands and titles to boost your Authority, thus calming down the rebels… but on the long term it will make it harder to control new far away vassals because of distance reduction. That is the flip side to the coin of quick expansion, though it may be a valid way to play the game.
BONUS: Avoiding ahistorical endless conflicts between great powers? Now possible! A war exhaustion system could diminish Authority considering war duration and negative warscore. Large realms will no-more fight until last breath and will now capitulate just when they should to avoid collapsing. Small and quickly occupied realms, on the other hand, have less vassals to worry about (they are thus more stable) and will fight for their survival. I think it’s better that way than in CK2, balance-wise.
Assuming bordergore issues are addressed, we will see games in which it won’t be uncommon for empires to appear, to spread, and then, once they are weakened by defeats or weak rulers, to be fragmented and conquered by a stronger foreign invader or by a former vassal.
… and what about Score if Prestige is no more? Let’s say it’s now an accounting of how long your family members keep Authority. So, remaining a small kingdom for centuries should give as much as being a fast-expanding empire which disintegrate quickly, allowing different gameplay approaches and government/religion features. And you’ll now have an incentive, for example, to marry every member of your family since – remember! – they get a small boost upon marriage
BONUS 2 : What about a parallel modifier for Abrahamic religion called Religious Influence which whould replace Piety? Following your traits and decisions, the clergy / papacy will or will not support you against your foes, muslim tribesmen will or will not accept you as their leader and join your armies instead of those of your rivals...
Diplomacy and Intrigue overhaul
Characters can interact by exchanging objects / actions between them like:
- Gifts (or monthly Gold, meaning tribute),
- Pacts (including alliances, non-aggression, guarantee…),
- Offices/Honorary titles,
- Council support,
- joining plots/factions,
- freeing prisoners,
- any Jade Dragon imperial interaction for empires and so on.
Opinion matters! Opinion makes characters more or less likely to accept deals that don’t clearly advantage them. Furthermore, dealing with A while B hates him decreases the opinion B has of you. Conversely, undertaking any hostile action toward A increases B’s opinion of you. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Pay attention to who you are dealing with.
Remember high Authority subjects might attract a lot of people in their plots or factions? Here’s what allow them to be threatening: /!\ Authority is used to weight what one offers to another. /!\ Marrying the emperor’s daughter will cost you more if you are a nobody. Likewise, a powerful vassal will then get more people to join their factions for lesser counterparts.
Favor here should become a kind of neutral currency which comes in various amounts and not just yes/no. It’s like “OK the trade is advantageous for you now, but I might ask you something later”. Unless you pay it back by a disadvantageous deal you proposed yourself, the other character is likely to claim things later that you cannot refuse without a general opinion penalty.
The only thing not influenced by Authority in trade-offs is Favor. So, for example you can offer your help in a civil war to the claimant of the thrones against a huge amount of Favor and when he is king you will remind him what he owes you.
(An example of how situations can be handled in different ways. Showing China is absolutely not because I want it to be in the base CK3 game. Not at all. I swear. )
>> As for intrigue:
Opinion is still a good character motivation to help you in your plot or to plot against people they dislike. But here’s a quite deceitful addon: forcing characters to help you in your plots by blackmailing them. Let’s say:
- you hold a relative as prisoner, the character decides if they obey or betray you but, in this case, you kill or mutilate their relative.
- Or you could know a shameful secret via ‘intrigue focus’-like events (or a plot?) and threaten to disclose it.
- Or, last but not least, in certain cultures you poison the character and give them periodically an antidote (if they disobey or if you die, they die).
You can also use blackmailing to extort them an advantageous deal.
Speaking of, you might need one or several spymasters if you are bad at intrigue (but here it is a truly secret office and they remain unknown to everybody!) and simply give them plot orders they must fulfil, coping themselves with building a spy network (of which you are not aware) to accomplish their job. You could recruit them with the trade-off mechanic or among blackmailed characters. They can themselves have their own spymasters etc. Be careful as, even though they are caught instead of you if the plot fails, nothing forbids them betray you by joining someone else’s spy network for a better deal…
I can’t imagine how exciting internal politics, full of pledges and backstabbing, would be with these mechanics!
Focus Points, aka the no-mana workaround
So, the idea came from the WoL foci that allow your character to… focus on certain stuff giving bonuses/improving relations/unlocking event chains/etc. while preventing them from focusing on other stuff at the same time. I thought: why not generalizing this and instead of spending Prestige, Piety or Gold for any decision in the game (feasts, pilgrimages, trainings…), you would spend ‘time’ to fulfill these goals? Less gamey, more strategic beside being immersive.
To allow multiple tasks at the same time, each character gets a fixed max amount of “Focus Points” representing time, personal/court involvement and mental/physical “workforce” that they can use/spend to perform actions and get them back once the action is finished, or for continuous ones (like swaying), when they choose to stop. Considering the variety of possibilities and outcomes, you’d have to choose where to allocate your points and some decisions/interactions/actions/choices might be costlier than others. You can still cancel undertaken actions to get then back earlier but won’t earn anything if not continuous. Cancelling allow you to use these points for something else instead. The outcomes and chances of success depend on your personal or state skills!
The costs may also vary depending on your traits. So, let’s say your character is a genius, you’ll need less Focus Points to write a book; if high stewardship, less to organize a tournament and so on. That way, the player must think about what is worthwhile and make rational choices fitting the roleplay aspect as well.
(Technology via Learning improvement is a long-term investment, I guess.)
But that’s not all! ^^ Governments with some level of bureaucracy and their viceroyalties will heavily rely on this new system!
Indeed, if some foci are about character improvement (to increase personal skills), help to get free Authority/Gold/Piety via events or influence opinions, that’s not the only purpose of Focus Points! To fully exploit your demesne, you must attribute some of them to your counties to collect taxes, calm down peasants and supervise constructions (think energy you spend for administration). The issue is, the larger your empire and demesne gets, the more you’ll have to use points to administrate your counties or you won’t gain much from your large territory. You could increase your results with higher stewardship skills, but you’re now lacking these skills without personal improvement focus…
While you’re busy administrating, your vile subject with smaller demesne continue improving their own skills and may eventually have better stats than you thus getting even more taxes, armies and technology nonetheless and becoming a threat. To avoid this, you can delegate administration of your demesne to them realm in exchange for a part of local taxes and troops (in the form of a deal, see above)… They will also slowly heighten their Authority with time by doing the job. Sure, they may be the most competent and greatly help you, but they will become very powerful. The choice is yours and you must think of the lesser evil. As a smart ruler, you must secure your power using their rivalries to make them infight. Be careful, a higher relative Authority make vassals more demanding in negotiations. As a vassal however, this is a mean to “climb the social ladder” among the various rulers of the realm
“Hey hold on! That just replaces the demesne rigid limit! Isn’t the solution to create new vassals like in CK2, then? ” You are right! I described here how viceroyalties would work now, being way more modular and adapted to various situations and cultures… Viceroyalties are no more landed titles you get back upon death but are now a bit like councilor missions. “Viceroys” (or historical equivalent) won’t *own* the land they administer, but still get some taxes and troops, can build things… and gain Authority from it. And can revolt, of course.
As a bureaucratic or semi-bureaucratic government, you must assign them areas to govern. In the deal, you offer a part of the cash and troops and they offer their Focus Points (can’t trade it against something else). Whereas as a feudal of feudal-like government, you offer land and they offer an oath. Not the same thing at all!
Sooooo… even though weaker in general, feudal or tribal government lords are less likely to need maneuvering than other governments because of the generous land distribution the vassals get. Hey, it’s sometimes also a good thing for the king to be only primus inter pares!
Playing tall is also a solution as you could focus on improving yourself without delegating admin so you can stand up to not-so-stable wide playing empires. Or allocate more points to fewer provinces. Yeah, that works as well.
(It’s a joke! Peasants’ work isn’t modelized by this game mechanic…)
Playable… yet, landless???
Yes! Think about those non-feudal gov. characters: nomads, patricians, chinese imperial courtier, norse adventurers, non-landowner byzantine bureaucrats, some “minor” titles holders… what do they have in common? They are all – or sometimes can be or should be – landless. (Currently, CK2 handles patricians with the tricky barony workaround and nomads are just landowner who may teleport their capital barony).
What a shame considering all the new mechanics explained above! They are now much more important in the game and interesting to play as!
>> How to make that possible?
Each realm, depending on its size and government (mainly bureaucratic), may have several “courtier” titles held by the head of an influential landless family which are top liege’s direct vassals. Their number increase when the realm expands. Should they ever have zero Authority or not enough when the realm size is reduced, and it is Game Over for them unless they acquire lands. In some cases (republican elections…), formerly landed people may become playable landless.
As landless subjects don’t have to use Focus Points for administrative purpose on their own (no personal demesne), they dedicate themselves during their “free time” – I mean remaining Focus Points – to improving their skills and thus quickly become essential for their liege’s realm administration as they are better than anyone else. They are then a nice pick for viceroyalties in bureaucratic governments If they don’t administer lands but still hire mercenaries, the troops they spawn would appear few counties away from their liege’s capital.
Landless courtiers are listed, along with regular vassals, in the vassal tab ranking them all by Authority amount. (Reminder that all realms get their own list.) The courtiers’ aim is to rank up by gaining Authority like anybody else. They will use it to better trade-off with others. Why? To forge better alliance, amass more wealth, be awarded with courtly/honorary titles. Why? To gain even more Authority and to eventually get inheritable lands via a deal or to directly replace their liege if the government allows it (remember you can ask to join your faction for lesser counterparts if your Authority is high enough).
Vassals could also have those kinds of courtiers for burgers, petty barons and high clergy members, replacing the barony system for the sake of gameplay mechanics homogeneity, even though they are not playable. But this is minor and one may disagree.
As landless notables compete to rank up in the subjects list, they often plot to push down rivals - right above or below them - and the liege might use these rivalries to manage internal threats. It will be a huge deal for China if it is on the game map, because most of the Song emperor’s subjects of note are “landless” for instance.
Tribals and nomads would have their own specific kind of landless subjects called “warriors”. While they’d replace adventurers for tribal pagans, they’d be the new “clan leader” in nomadic realms. These characters have standing armies and loot to amass wealth to either recruit more troops if tribal or increase population if nomadic (what about “merging” pop and troops for the later like tribes in Imperator: Rome?). Succeeding raids is what gives them Authority boosts. To gain lands, they may either duel their overlord when he has less Authority to take his place, or claim lands they have helped to conquer, or prepare invasions (making them independent and landed in case of success), or even being vassalized by neighboring lords in exchange for lands (trade-off interaction), etc.
They are however those who supply the chief or the khan with troops.
Now that a khagan doesn’t have to manage land repartition anymore, nomads can be true landless nomads like CK2’s bands/raiders/adventurers from the steppes. They would actually move their entire “realms” on the map/migrate. The khagan should himself being landless, his “capital” being defined by where his main standing troops-pop stack is positioned. Same for clan leaders. Their respective Authority amounts tell us who becomes overlord upon succession. Empty counties are dynamically distributed by the game between hordes depending of the khans’ troops-pop positions and those counties don’t give anything on their own (not even basic Authority). Khans don’t fight each other for lands but for population, and as you don’t besiege a nomadic clan, you defeat it by destroying-capturing its troops-pop on the battlefield. Khans and khagans aim to subjugate lower Authority neighbors (can be done “peacefully” via deal) and get incentives to move their standing pop (=migrate) from the pursuit of far away weaker hordes or sedentary realms, or to flee a bigger horde…
Just like hordes swallow others to grow (and extend the radius within which counties are allocated to them), defeated or fleeing ones will leave uncontrolled areas where new hordes will appear.
I would honestly really like these realms to be as much versatile as they were historically.
There’s a lot more to say, including about warfare, governments, cultures and religions, but it’s already too long. For more, see this older, quite outdated and really long text: https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...-make-the-game-perfect.1133422/#post-24920080
TL;DR : I present ideas of interconnected mechanics adding depth and dynamism to internal politics and offering different approaches for the player at several levels (among other things).