Imperator - Development Diary - 1st of April 2019

  • We have updated our Community Code of Conduct. Please read through the new rules for the forum that are an integral part of Paradox Interactive’s User Agreement.

Trin Tragula

Design Lead - Crusader Kings 3
Paradox Staff
28 Badges
Aug 1, 2003
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • IPO Investor
  • Paradox Order
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • 500k Club
  • 200k Club
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2
  • Sengoku
  • Semper Fi
  • Rome Gold
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • March of the Eagles
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • For The Glory
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Deus Vult
  • Crusader Kings II
In today's Developer Diary for Imperator Rome we will be talking about Barbarians, what they represent in the game and how you can interact with them. We will also go over the regions on the far side of the Himalayas, the Tarim Basin and Tibet.


Throughout antiquity there are many marginalized peoples living "off the edges" of our map, and in the isolated and hard to tame regions of the world. Bedouins in the deserts of Arabia, Slavs or Sarmatians in eastern Europe, etc. Barbarians represent them and the threat they posed to nearby civilized neighbors. They will continue to pose a threat to pops long after a region has been conquered until they have been civilized through the influence of nearby settlements.

Barbarian Strongholds
Around the map, in impassable, uncolonizable locations, there are local modifiers called Barbarian strongholds. In this location Barbarian power will build up over time until a Horde spawns.

Since Barbarian strongholds are in impassable locations they cannot be directly interacted with, however the governor policy for Civilization Effort in an adjacent province can increase the civilization level in the stronghold's location, and eventually downgrade, and then remove the stronghold.

Barbarian Power
How strong barbarian presence exists in a location. The higher Barbarian power the more likely it is that a horde will spawn there. Higher Barbarian Power also results in bigger Hordes when an army is formed.

Barbarian power is influenced by Barbarian Growth.

Barbarian Growth
This is how quickly Barbarian Power Grows in a location. The primary source of this modifier is from Barbarian Strongholds, in impassable, uninhabitable, land.

Civilization value reduces barbarian growth wherever it is present, therefore barbarian power growth is going to slow down and then regress once an adjacent province has increased its civilization rating enough.

Current barbarian power, Civilization and Barbarian Power growth rate can be seen either in a mapmode for Barbarians or in the locations themselves, in their location interface.

Barbarian Hordes
Once Barbarian power has built up sufficiently a horde will spawn. The size of this army will depend on how high Barbarian power was in the location in which it spawned. All armies that spawn from the same location will be considered part of the same Horde.

The Horde will move into settled territory and begin occupying cities. Every city that falls will have its local Civilization Level reduced by the horde.

If a Horde is defeated by an army the leading general will get money and the units in the Barbarian army will be distributed in the winning country as Slaves.

Barbarian Diplomacy:
A horde that controls at least one city can be negotiated with. This means that you can open diplomacy with it just like you would any other country, though the options you have when interacting with them are slightly different from those with other countries.
  • Settle: Offer the Barbarians to settle the land they currently occupy, they will join the city as Tribesmen of the culture and religion of their location they spawned in.
  • Create Client: Offer the barbarians to form a new Tributary State with the land they currently hold in the country. The new country will be a tribal chiefdom of the same culture and religion as the location the barbarian horde spawned in.
  • Demand Surrender: Demand that the Barbarian Army is dissolved and all land returned. The Barbarian army will provide slaves and money as if it had been defeated in a battle.
  • Pay Off: Offer money to have the Barbarian armies leave your lands and seek targets for pillaging elsewhere.

(A Barbarian Tributary has been created)​


High above the plains of Northern India and the great Maurya empire lies the Tibetan plateau. Then as well as now large parts of this region, especially the Changthang highland, was largely unsettled. But in the south there were a number of thriving societies, most prominently the dominant Zhangzhung kingdom which would remain the most influential state of Tibet for many centuries yet. Buddhism is still a young religion by the time our game starts and had still not spread to large numbers beyond India. The tibetan state in the game instead practice the Bon religion, which here represents the pre-buddhist Tibetan faith.

Tibet is also another region where I have to add a bit of a disclaimer. While we can be certain that this region was both populated and influential there is not a lot to go on when it comes to the details. Therefore what we have is extrapolated from later information to a large degree.

Starting Countries:
  • Zhangzhung: Tribal Regional Power in the western Tibetan Plateau. Controls Mountain passes into India, Kashmir, Pamir and the Tarim Basin. Said to be the birthplace of Tibetan religion.
  • Tsang: Tribal state in Central Tibet controlling the central Brahmaputra valley. Also controls a number of mountain passes into India and directly borders the more powerful Zhangszhung kingdom.
  • Sumpa: Settled Tribe in western Tibet controlling the westernmost pass into India, in western Kamarupa.
  • Yarlung: Small tribal state in the Yarlung valley in western Tibet. Controls one of the mountain passes towards India and thereby directly borders the Maurya Empire, and Kamarupa.
Tarim Basin & Sogdia:
While we quickly touched on Sogdia, and the Ferghana valley in the Diary about Bactria, we now return here to look at the independent factions in this region. The center of Sogdia around Marakanda, later Samarkand, is in the hands of the Bactrian Greek Kingdom there are also independent states here. The Tarim Basin, with the harsh Taklamakan desert at its center, as well as Sogdia to its west would in time become important as an important transition point between China and the West. This region is central to what would become known as the Silk Road. While such trade surely existed to some degree already when our game starts it would not grow to be an important factor until later in time.

Starting Countries:
  • Sogdia: Not all parts of Sogdia is controlled by the Graeco-Bactrian kingdom. This Autocratic Monarchy represents the local Sogdian and Tocharian people and at start its control does not extend further than the mountains around the Ferghana valley itself.
  • Wusun: Tribal state to the North of Sogdia, one of the first regions to be invaded by the Yuezhi when they arrived on the scene.
  • Tayuan: Kingdom in the eastern Ferghana valley representing the parts of the valley that are not under Graeco-Bactrian control. Tayuan controls the route between Sogdia, the western parts of Central Asia, and the Tarim basin, a crossroad that would in the future prosper especially as part of the Silk Road.
  • Phrynia: Mountain kingdom controlling large parts of the Pamir Mountains, a region so high up that it has been referred to as the ‘Roof of the World’. This is yet another route through which Tibet and the Tarim Basin can be accessed from the Bactrian lowlands.
  • Shule: Small trade kingdom in the western part of the Tarim Basin, centered around the city of Kashgar. Like the Tayuan state they occupy a position that would eventually be instrumental in the formation of more frequent trade connections between China and the west.
  • Kucha: Kothanese kingdom in the northern part of the Tarim Basin, based around the city of Kucha.
  • Pishan: Small tribal state in the Southern Tarim basin. Controls one of the passes into the Zhanzhung kingdom.
  • Khotan: Larger kingdom in the Southern Tarim Basin, would in time become famous through its adoption of Buddhism and grow to control a much larger part of this region. By 304 BCE however this kingdom has still not adopted the faith for which it would eventually become known, and it is also not yet the regional power it would become.
  • Loulan: Most distant of all the Tarim kingdoms is the small state of Loulan. Most of what is known about this kingdom is from Chinese sources and in time they would also become a Chinese subject state historically.
  • 1
  • 1Like
What exactly will happen once the modifier is removed? Are the areas just empty and unpassable or do the barbarians "settle" or something similar?

They will just be empty once they are completely gone. It will first reduce the strength of the modifier and later remove it though.
Wow, it seems that China also have a role in Imperator Rome.

Not really at present. It is mentioned for background information for these countries but there is no direct influence from China in the game :)

Now the Yuezhi however, those guys might show up at some point... ;)
Why are the Germanics playable nations, rather than barbarians?

Becuase it's more interesting if they are playable? Also this allows to replay Germanic migration. The Barbarians only represent mostly unorganized socities.
Really like the barbarians system.It has some similarities with the Barbarians in Civ,especially for the barbarians power and barbarians strongholds mechanics.However,it sounds better than Civ because it is more deeper and complex.
What happens if/ is it possible that the barbarians “win”? Are they either defeated or negotiated with using those diplomatic options, or is there a scenario where they defeat a nation without becoming a tributary, tribesmen, or being defeated?
Thank you for the DD! I like the option to have diplomacy with barbarians (I hope they will find translators, though). But somewhat, there are a few things that I was anticipating, and had a preference for, before reading that DD: the random component of barbarians. Now that we see the numbers about their power and spawn likelihood, it seems like barbarians spawning is getting less random and that the player can have some control over it. I want my barbarians more unpredictable!

And I'm less sure about the consistency of having unpassable terrain... where barbarians come from. If they can, why can't the players? I can understand that barbarians are roaming through these lands (they take risks that nations don't take, or have developed abilities that nations have not developed), but now it looks like they are settled there, permanently. I don't understand why an army couldn't move there.

That being said, I continue to love the barbarians mechanics, it's one great addition to the game. And I like how it changes one's strategy, as it becomes more important to keep armies across one's territory.
Last edited:
Not really at presnet. It is mentioned for background information for these countries but there is no direct influence from China in the game :)

Now the Yuezhi however, those guys might show up at some point... ;)
Would you ever consider a future DLC which expands the borders of the map to include China? This game has perfect mechanics to feature Warring-States China and ignoring such a significant region seems like a terrible decision.
@Trin Tragula
Create Client
: Offer the barbarians to form a new Tributary State with the land they currently hold in the country. The new country will be a tribal chiefdom of the same culture and religion as the location the barbarian horde spawned in.

Is this also possible if they occupy foreign land/cities?
So if Barabarians occupy a city in Gaul, can i offer them the "protection" of Rome?
I'll wait to see how this plays out in game, but my experience with spawned barbarians in EU:Rome was one of constant annoyance. Didn't find them engaging or interesting at all. In that game though, so much of the map was uninhabited. At least in I:R these seem like relatively small stacks that spawn, there's some predictability to their spawning, and some sense to where they come from.
Last edited: