POPs and Structures: A Holding Replacement Proposal

POPs and Structures: A Holding Replacement Proposal

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BeyondExpectation

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(For CK3)

There’s a lot wrong with the “Holding” system of world construction in Crusader Kings 2. The way its tied to government type results in numerous problems, such as the Byzantine Empire turning tribal and being unable to become feudal, kingdoms randomly turning into theocracies and an ahistoric inability of the King of France to hold Paris himself. Furthermore, the system of “spend money to both make money and permanently have more levy” causes areas to always progress unless attacked by nomads and causes easy minmaxing with no-brainer building choices. It also enhances blobbing as there’s no disadvantage to having lots of army buildings in the capital – in reality, a large rich empire would be constantly spending enormous quantities of money to keep thousands of armed men happy, weather they were in fortified positions or not.

My proposal is very radical, but don’t worry; the POPs have nowhere near Victoria level of detail[1]. Each would inhabit a province, while having a religion, culture, agitation, number of people and way of life. Agitation is very similar to revolt risk, while way of life does not correspond exactly to any mechanic in Crusader Kings 2 but is most closely linked to government type.

There are four possible ways of life: nomadic, tribal[2], settled and urban. Nomadic is the way of life in the steppes of central Asia and the interior of Arabia, among others. A majority of a nomadic POP can be raised by a strong ruler to wage war with relative ease, but such POPs only give the tiniest trickle of income. Tribal is the way of life of the Daylamites in the Elburz, Albanians and Montenegrins in the Balkans, and the Scottish Highlanders, among others. Most tribal rulers can raise a large minority of their POPs in defence, and the most effective can raise similar numbers on the offensive, but tribal POPs only give a small amount of income. Both nomadic and tribal armies are strongly inclined to settle in newly conquered areas, the former particularly. Settled POPs, which cover most of the map at the latter start dates, give a moderate amount of income, but only a fairly small fraction can be used for defensive wars, and less for offensive ones. Urban POPs, such as the inhabitants of Bagdad or York, give the highest incomes to their rulers, but only a few percent can be used for external conquest.

Urban POPs are very desirable to have due to their great wealth but are hard to keep intact. Provinces have a POP “cap” which, as the POPs in the province approach it in numerical size, their growth will deaccelerate. The cap is increased multiplicatively based on way of life and the size of the area controlled from it and hence it can draw resources from. In rare circumstances, the POP size will significantly succeed the cap, due to for instance an abnormally long period of peace without plague, abnormal amounts of wealth flowing in through trade or being the capital of a large area[3], in which case the extra population will split off to form a new POP[4]; an urban one. Urban pops are particularly vulnerable to disease, sacks and general shrinkage. Urban POPs are inclined to become republics in times where their liege’s control is weak, and in select cultures, they may be sold town charters to become republics to grant the ruler who sold it an immediate cash boost. In order to protect an urban POP from war, it may be a good idea to build city walls, which leads into the structures feature.

First, city walls prevent any enemy army which just moves into the province from damaging the POP. Instead, to access it, they must besiege the city. City walls are also unique in that they can be built around other structures, like castles, granting additional protection. The disadvantage to city walls? They, like all structures, require maintenance. Zero or insufficient maintenance will cause structures to gradually decay, losing defensive advantage at first very quickly but at ever slowing rates[5]. However, a half-decayed structure will be much cheaper to repair than building a structure from scratch.

There would be two non-defensive kinds of structures: palaces and temples. The former would be things like the Apostolic Palace or Palace of Westminster, while the latter would include Aachen Cathedral or the Al-Azhar Mosque. Like other structures, they would require maintenance, but Palaces would give more prestige the larger and better maintained they were, and Temples would give piety[6]. Note that theocrats would not live in temples, but castles or palaces.

[1] They have a closer resemblance to EU:Rome or MEIOU & Taxes 2.0 POPs

[2] Not to be confused with tribal government type, which are actually much closer to chiefdoms.

[3] This would be done with a formula something like T=B*C+C/x, where T is the new total the province’s POPs are geared to (collectively) grow towards, B is the base POP cap of the province, and C is the total caps of all the areas controlled (minus perhaps some sort of autonomy modifier like Crown Authority in CK2).

[4] Or POPs, if the province is religiously or culturally diverse

[5] For instance, not maintaining a castle for a decade with substantially reduce the defensive advantage, but a castle neglected for 50 years is not much worse than one neglected for 25

[6] Both should be subject to diminishing returns, as someone who owns 100 palaces is not twice as prestigious as one who owns 50. (Indeed, this should be a general principle as it would stop prestige becoming a bottomless pool for major emperors.)
 

Greene

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The Middle Ages were about land, not about filthy peasants or greedy merchants and craftsmen.
 

Lord_P

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The Middle Ages were about land, not about filthy peasants or greedy merchants and craftsmen.
You are so very wrong.
 

faiuwle

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It also enhances blobbing as there’s no disadvantage to having lots of army buildings in the capital – in reality, a large rich empire would be constantly spending enormous quantities of money to keep thousands of armed men happy, weather they were in fortified positions or not.
I will read the rest of your post in a moment, but I would just like to point out that levies in this time were not standing troops or a professional army - they were conscripted peasants. That's why you don't have to pay their upkeep while they are not raised - they are at home working their fields until you call them to arms. Presumably the buildings in the holding represents the ability to arm X number of Y type conscripted soldiers in the event of a war.
 

BeyondExpectation

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I will read the rest of your post in a moment, but I would just like to point out that levies in this time were not standing troops or a professional army - they were conscripted peasants. That's why you don't have to pay their upkeep while they are not raised - they are at home working their fields until you call them to arms. Presumably the buildings in the holding represents the ability to arm X number of Y type conscripted soldiers in the event of a war.
This is sort of the case, but as troops fill out holdings for the purposes of sieges when not the case the game really can't make up its mind.
 

faiuwle

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It's pretty simple, isn't it? When war is declared, a number peasants are called to fight the enemy, and a number are called to man the castle in case of a siege (the garrison). The only real failure of the system is that there is no upkeep cost for garrisons during wartime.
 

BeyondExpectation

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It's pretty simple, isn't it? When war is declared, a number peasants are called to fight the enemy, and a number are called to man the castle in case of a siege (the garrison). The only real failure of the system is that there is no upkeep cost for garrisons during wartime.
No, it isn't. When, say, being raided, fortifications always have a garrison. Same for when grassroots revolts happen; they don't besiege empty castles.
 

faiuwle

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Ok, whenever there are hostile troops in your land, not whenever you are at war. Although, you will note that when there is a peasant revolt, you are indeed at war.
 

BeyondExpectation

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Ok, whenever there are hostile troops in your land, not whenever you are at war. Although, you will note that when there is a peasant revolt, you are indeed at war.
Not the point. There is never any time in game where, if you're levy is not raised, fortifications aren't full of men, indicating that, at least in some respects, "levies" are actually garrisons.
 

DPS

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Not the point. There is never any time in game where, if you're levy is not raised, fortifications aren't full of men, indicating that, at least in some respects, "levies" are actually garrisons.
They're just local levies/militias that can very quickly man the walls in times of trouble. They're "always there" in the sense that they are locals, but they're not really always manning the walls; portraying them as manned even in peacetime is just a convenient game mechanic to show that they can be raised more-or-less overnight, which is why they don't cost maintenance (they wouldn't actually be fully manned even in wartime it there weren't enemies nearby).
 

wthree

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(For CK3).

My proposal is very radical, but don’t worry; the POPs have nowhere near Victoria level of detail[1]. Each would inhabit a province, while having a religion, culture, agitation, number of people and way of life. Agitation is very similar to revolt risk, while way of life does not correspond exactly to any mechanic in Crusader Kings 2 but is most closely linked to government type..
I agree in principle, but I would suggest a few differences. Im not sure on some of what you mean so Ill explain what I mean:

The POP would be a singular unit, representing all of the population of a given area. There would always be a majority religion and culture, but could also have minority religion and culture/s. There would also be a simple population size which would effect all production and levies.

Rather than having 4 separate ways of life, I would suggest instead use something more akin to estates. But rather than having just a single estate controlling the pop/county, you would have relative power of each of the different groups, which would also represent settling populations and urbanization.

The different estates would be: Nomadic, Tribal, Nobility, Priestly, Urban. As time goes on you would see Nomadic and Tribal estates lose power, as would you see the beginnings of urbanization with the rise of the Urban estate compared to the Nobility. The Priestly estate would be more or less static throughout the period, but would depend more on particular realms. The control of the province would represent relative influence rather than direct numbers involved.

What this would mean is you would get a relatively simple but nuanced understanding of the county in question. It might be mostly nomadic transitioning into settled tribes, or a mostly Tribal population with a strong religious centre. The influence of the different estates would effect things like Levies, Tax and more.
 

BeyondExpectation

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They're just local levies/militias that can very quickly man the walls in times of trouble.
So anyone can just walk in off the street when there's no ongoing conflict?
 

Thure

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No, it isn't. When, say, being raided, fortifications always have a garrison. Same for when grassroots revolts happen; they don't besiege empty castles.
The inhabitators of the city will take the arms to defent their city. It's easy.
 

gutza1

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Yeah, it would be great if Paradox would start to put M&T-like mechanics into their games. Unfortunately, that requires numerous game systems closely working together, which would require updating old DLC...
 

ejnomad07

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So anyone can just walk in off the street when there's no ongoing conflict?
The average person in medieval Western Europe didn't do a whole lot of walking anywhere. They lived lives of self-sufficing isolation even from their neighbors. In Western Europe the average peasant maybe had known by sight 200 - 300 people in his whole life. 16th century England the average man saw maybe 100 people in their whole lives. This is not the age of standing armies and upkeep.
 

Tryvenyal

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I will read the rest of your post in a moment, but I would just like to point out that levies in this time were not standing troops or a professional army - they were conscripted peasants. That's why you don't have to pay their upkeep while they are not raised - they are at home working their fields until you call them to arms. Presumably the buildings in the holding represents the ability to arm X number of Y type conscripted soldiers in the event of a war.
Why does not a province get several steps towards "Depopulation" when levy is raised? :)
 

Federalist girl

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It’s very important to have the burgher/urban vs peasant/rural divide I think. Currently CK2 does this with holdings — city holdings are self-explanatory, while castles are landed estates. At the momen prosperity and fertility applies across the board to counties as a whole. Maybe that could be changed.

Decoupling holdings and government.... I don’t know. To a certain extent, the Byzantine Empire and the Italian republics are city-based entities. And even cities such as Paris and London were unique entities inside otherwise feudal realms. But it’s also true that there were city palaces, and they were sometimes the seat of court.

Blah, I don’t know. Stuff is complex. :)
 

BeyondExpectation

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It’s very important to have the burgher/urban vs peasant/rural divide I think. Currently CK2 does this with holdings — city holdings are self-explanatory, while castles are landed estates. At the momen prosperity and fertility applies across the board to counties as a whole. Maybe that could be changed.

Decoupling holdings and government.... I don’t know. To a certain extent, the Byzantine Empire and the Italian republics are city-based entities. And even cities such as Paris and London were unique entities inside otherwise feudal realms. But it’s also true that there were city palaces, and they were sometimes the seat of court.

Blah, I don’t know. Stuff is complex. :)
With regards to your first paragraph, this system would show an urban versus rural divide too, with settled versus urban POPs.

With the second, London was granted a town charter by Henry I (http://elfinspell.com/PrimarySource1130.html) though I don't know if the city paid him for it, while Paris was under AFAIK under the complete control of the French King (unlike the vast majority of the legal kingdom for much of the middle ages). The large difference between the city and the countryside would be represented by POP way of life, without directly effecting government type.
Also, in CK2, the Byzantine Empire is weirdly castle based, so surely this would be an improvement in that respect?