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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Quaade

Field Marshal
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Mar 28, 2007
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Part 1:

Based on my research from legal works and lawyers relevant to the period, I´ve found some inconsistencies from the game to how it actually worked in reality. While I do agree that accuracy shouldn´t matter as much as balancing gameplay, but when accuracy have the ability to improve gameplay in a logical way and there seems to be annoyances on the current system it might be time to look at it differently where historicy could prove a vital part due the nature of this game being a sandbox in a historic settings. By this, I personally believe that gameplay could be improved by implementing such historic features while not upsetting the balance and making the ability for both player and AI to play more according to history, making it possible to have scenarios much like in reality or play out “what-if” scenarios. The premise was made to improve Hanseatic league and Kalmar union, but the more research I did the more I found out that something similar appeared in different places in europe during this period. This has led to me trying to translate the legal works into something that could be implemented into the game, this by doing what I believe PDX does themselves by making “general” rules that should be balanced and fun to play, while setting some “special” rules for specific cases, the latter is based more on historicy and to add a sense of difference to playing these special cases.


First off, the terms that I refer to from the legal works and which are the basis of this suggestion are which nations independent, semi-independent or non-independent. In reality this wasn´t as easily discerned, the case of Croatia under Hungary clearly shows this since they were de jure part of Hungary but de facto they ruled their own land under Hungary. They paid tribute like a vassal, had their own army and was to protect their own land with the aid of Hungary, in return they were to aid Hungary in any war be it offensive or defensive but if Croatian army were to pass a specific river that marked their land, they were to be paid by Hungary for their services. This can´t be correctly done in the current system, but I do believe it´s not impossible to do something similar in the current system or perhaps with some alterations to the system itself. Another example would be the case of Luxembourg in 1815, which were both a part of German confederation and in a personal union under Netherlands, in 1856 the King of Netherlands tried to sell the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg to France to which Prussia objected and were nearly on the brink of war where Netherlands and Luxemburg were in a war on oppossing sides though still being in a union. Ottoman can loosely be mentioned as having de facto vassals by their use of regional governance where the people of the region adhere to their own laws and customs but was obligated to the Ottoman empire.


  • Sovereign, suzereain: The distinction have importance when it comes to subjects and is the difference between real-unions and unions. A sovereign controls directly the part of state within his borders under one government, wheras the suzerain controls the part of state within his borders with the subject having their own government and thus their own relations.

  • Real-unions, unions: The distinction is that real-unions are under one sovereign and as such one government, wheras a union are devised of two soverign governments who are ruled by one monarch. The subject thus are able to enter treaties and obligate itself but are usually represented by the suzerain. Real-unions are Autria-Hungary and Sweden-Norway, whereas unions are cases like Great Britain and Hanover and Netherlands and Luxemburg.

  • Unions, vassals: Unions function more like vassals, though the difference is that vassal states retain their monarch whereas unions have the same monarch “by chance”, but as unions retain their government they are still semi-independent as were vassals. A vassal or a union were however not unrestricted, since they were obligated under the terms of the suzerain internationally they were at large able to govern themselves, the suzerain had more the part of being protector of the vassal but in return the vassal subjected it´s will to the suzerain putting some restrictions on their action, mostly internationally.

  • Alliance: Alliances in the first era were not as general in their execution as the modern term of alliance, there were some general alliances which promised aid in both offensive and defensive no matter what, but they usually led to disputes over the interpretation and extend of this promise mainly due to one not being able to honour it, it conflicted with their own interest be it attacking another ally or destroying trade relations, or as simple as they didn´t have any interest in the war and thus didn´t like to aid in a war that only was due to one participant being able to gain from it. Alliances were very much a complex matter due to it´s still personal nature and can best be described as three friends A,B and C, B and C gets into a fight and both expect A to join them, would it be dishonest for A not to join any of them, or does B have more right over C, does C owe money to A or has A gave promises that he would aid C in exchange for B´s lawnmower.

  • Guarantee: Most alliances were specific promises, guarantees to a very specific event in order to prevent the risk of the above. By looking at numerous alliances in the early period, they can basically be summed down to offensive or defensive gurantee or the like the Auld alliance, where both parties guarentee mutual defense in the event England attacked either of them. The naming of target and terms of when and where was a major part of the the treaties among nations, since alliances were still viewed as the aftermath of feudal alliances where they were based on more personal promises and relations. As such many guarantees only lasted for a period and were either renewed or invalid after that period, or they lasted as long as the monarch lived, the Auld alliance were renewed several times during it´s existence.

  • Just war: A term used as a reason to go to war to which other nations should honour this right to war and not intervene. The term Oppenheimer uses is a better fit, “self-preservation” and is the cause and use of alliances and the reason why some were not used under some circumstances. Not having a right to go to war was viewed globally as an act of tyranny and as such any nation had a right to intervene in that war, usually by reason of “power of balance” which coincidentially also could used in the case the war was “just”, but the usage was then more withdrawn than against an aggressor with no argument for the war. This is also the reason why some alliances never came into effect in some wars, even allies and especially those with the more general statements would also need some justifications to join the war.

  • Intervention: In correlation to the above, an ally would need some justification which could be found in the alliance, but with a more general alliance it would be viewed as an excuse to increase one´s power and upset the balance if they simply allied anybody only to get an excuse for going to war and gain land. Usually the alliance were specific and thus the ally had interest in the war be it self-preservation or rights to go to war on their own, but the argument of “power of balance” (PoB) were commonly used by allies as justifications to weaken a rival, gain power over the rival, or to protect against a rival who had grown too powerful. Other excuses to intervene could be the effect the war had on the nations economy, the persecutions of their people abroad during the war be it culturally or religious which also counted as self-preservation.

  • PoB: A theory which were first used in practice by the Italic league and practiced by England from around 1500, since there were no legal system to stop any nation from growing too powerful it was the nations collectively who enforced rules of engaging war and the balance between nations. It was in neithers interest for their rivals to gain superiority over any others and as such they made alliances and intervened when PoB was to be upset, this is seen by the coalitions against France under Louis and later Napoleon, but it´s longterm practice shines in regards to the relations of England-France-Spain which all tried to keep the other in check since if one gained enough power it would be the end of the others.

  • Self-preservations: The term best fit to describe reasons of war and reasons for alliances and the problematics it brings. In-game alliance are used with defensive modifier being above any offensive, this however have some issues since not all wars were viewed as purely defensive in a modern term where we view the DoW as the offender, but we still hold the same view on other areas. If nation A violates nation B interests, be it embargoing of merchants, supporting rebels, marching troops across the border or dishonouring, nation B would be allowed to act, in self-preservation and as such the DoW is not an offensive war but a defensive. This also affect allies, since if nation A violates a right that nation C must support internationally like embargoing merchants, C shouldn´t join the war both because A is not the defender but the violator and C wouldn´t want his enemies to do the same to him, as such C is best to leave the fighting to the two participants and only intervene when his interests are hurt or PoB are upset due to the war.

  • Interests and relations: Most alliances were made in according to interests and relations, since they have mutual interest in either defense or offensive, they agree upon aiding each other in such an event. This could also be due to interest in claims or interests per relations, as when it´s the rival that´s the target and/or the rival is upsetting the PoB like the case of France. This however were limited too by PoB since any great power who allied with another great power would in turn upset the balance and other alliances would be made and upheld in the case war which had the risk of upsetting PoB, this is more true in the later period where alliances became less personal and wars were fought on a more major size and is particular the case of 30 years war and afterwards.

The terms described and reasons for them would set the stage for the suggestions.


Alliances:

Should be handled more in terms of interest and relations and address the PoB more, this would make them more like the actual term of “coalitions” and should be fairly if no such threat exists. The use should thus be refered to as a collection of nations who are generally threathened, like the Italic league where on all sides and should most likely have a target, like coalitions but with no restrictions to AE but be tool to PoB, so the alliances what usually only become just or just above the power of the target and the goal would be to weaken him.


Alliances should and could be allowed, but should be limited since it would mean the two nations are willing to trust each other enough to gain the ultimate support in both offensive and defensive wars, dishonouring them should be hugely penalized (guarentees should be used instead) as to restrict both player and AI from having the benefits from such and then dissolving it due to a war they have no interest in. If they don´t want to be dragged into such a war, they should degrade the alliance into a guarantee of support.


Guarantee:

Should be more commonly used early on, both in terms of offensive and defensive uses. The usage would be to target a nation and for either offensive or defensive purposes and would end the feared Austrian-France alliance or Austrian-Ottoman alliance since the use would normally be targetted. Aus-Fra would then guarantee support in a war against Castille or England or both, this would mean that if Aus goes to war against Hungary, Fra would not join but could be able to intervene if the circumstances (slightly different) were present.


Aus could on the other hand have signed treaties with other in relation to Hungary to either support in offensive and defensive war which would come into effect if such a war begun. The system should then when using the guarantee state whether this is “independence” or “support against”.


Independence:

This is kinda tricky legally, since it actually works the same way as alliances in that they have a limited usage too as to when they must or must not be honoured, which is why “support against” would work differently and be a better use. This would however work more like alliances do now, in which they are used defensively and upon permission. Oppenheimer describes this by setting two parameters for the usage of such, “the guaranteed must first request the guarantor to render assistance”, which pretty much is how alliances work now. The second parameter is for the guarantor, “must at the critical time be able to render the required assistance”, which is also somewhat similar to how alliances, in that the reasons he states are war with third nation, internal conflict which a war could endanger, or when the guaranteed was not following advice of behaviour.


Guarantee should then be used defensively and with a CoA that can be rejected like alliances are now and the weight of acceptance should be as alliances are done now, instead of the instant CoA on DoW.


Support against:

This is both for defensive or offensive, and should be done by targeting the nation “against” and specify that this is in support for defense or offense, perhaps even both. In the example above, Fra-Aus would support each other in any war against Castille, but not against any other nation, but perhaps with the added ability to intervene in any wars where either is at war with Castille as an ally, but where peace would also take out the other. So if Aus joins in a war against Milan, who are allied to Cas, they could ask Fra to join in support of them against Cas but this should be weighted with a penalty whether Fra has enough interest or PoB can be argued in support, this however also means that if Aus makes peace with Milan separately, Fra will automatically step out if it doesn´t decide to continue due to relations against Cas (this might need to balanced or else the “rolling” alliances should not happen, but if it works could be nice).


Diplomatic relations:

This could still work and have it´s uses to restrict making such agreements with half the world, any guarantee or alliance would take up 1 dip. rel. but the huge difference and which I like the most, is that you can now make ad hoc alliances with specific targets. There are two ways to solve this, either by;


  • Naming targets for offensive wars which takes up 1 slot and you then negotiates with whoever you like to join the war, this will be based on the other nations needs (interest in province), fear, relations (rivals, threat) which also takes relations with you into account. So you might be able to gather 4-5 smaller nations in an offensive war but only use 1 slot, but every nation will view the support both on relations to you, the target and the supporters and the PoB, so C won´t join if you already asked their rival B, but if the PoB is upset they might be willing to support the target since they could then join a war against their rival. I do believe these calculations would limit the uses to a fair amount and in some cases make it possible to take down blobs that have next to 0 AE, and would work like coalitions actually worked.

  • Each nation takes up a slot, so you will be quite limited on how many targets you can have effectively if you must use 1 slot per nation you want to join. Hence I like the above more, where excessive use of nations on targets are limited by relations and PoB (if support is already strong and no interest, then why join and risk upsetting their neighbour) and would require more diplomatic negotiations and keeping relations high with many since you will be dropping targets to make more join against another.

  • Both have the need for the player and AI to work more diplomatically, since any war will be dependant on you being liked more than the other, the interest they have in the war and the need for them to have it. Favours will also be earned by support and can be used to cement an alliance or be used against a target nation that they don´t have great interest, but they owe you. Like when Spain promised to support Venice against Ottoman under promise to aid them against Barbary states.

In my opinion, this would both limit the use of AI attack and protect dogs, since you might be able to agree on being protected against Fra, but you still aren´t protected against your neighbour who are similar in size and thus you can´t call in Aus in that war because you have a claim, unless you agree with Aus to support in that particular war and Aus will not automatically join you in defense unless they agreed upon it, but they could happen to intervene in some cases. Every nation and especially great powers or regional powers must take PoB into account, every nation who grows into certain size will upset the balance and every alliance or guarantee will risk this aswell, a cemented alliance with Fra- Otto upset the balance somewhat in reality, but was due to Habsburg rule becoming quite large and threathened the existance if they did not aid each other, Habsburg itself had upset the balance too much and neither Fra and Otto deemed themselves capable of defeating them on their own and thus were at risk of ceasing to exist.


This will also make mid and lategame more challenging, since PoB also would limit such alliances to “match” the target unless the target is also viewed as being aggressive in which case the AE coalition could become a powerful tool, since the normal “coalition” would then match the greates power, the AE coalition would then view this as being strong enough so instead of having coalitions appear ONLY when they collectively are strong enough, which seems to be some odd calculations at time since nations who could join don´t join even when they are enough to topple the aggressor. The AE coalition would then join the normal “coalition” in that this is also deemed strong and the calculate due this instead. AE will suddenly become much more important to keep down since going over the amount will quickly add members to this other coalition, which will also limit the “rolling” coalitions where you interfere with them by making truces with some it´s members, thus limiting their collective strength.


It´s my desire that this system would limit the use of allies, making it into promises of aid which in turn will limit the participants in the war into being more evensided wars or due to common interests, since it should be possible to dog-pile a nation when enough common interests are present either through hatred or the desire for their provinces. This also works in regards to my other suggestion about CB and it´s uses which also has it as cardinal point to limit the use of alliances to make wars more even, instead of seeing massive coalitions of alliances and what is refered to as, alliance of doom when two of the strongest nation suddenly ally, as a small nation you have no chance to attack them and allies are difficult to use in that case, but with the CB and this Venice will still have a chance against Austria if the guarantee among Fra-Aus is only against Castille. There will come more to this, since I´m still working on "intervention", "subject and subject interactions", "great and regional powers" which will further balance the relations of nations and add gameplay and accuracy to the game, in part by allowing historic occurances like Ottoman regional governance, Croatia under Hungary and some other nations that people have raised concerns about should be vassals, but lacking the mechanics to portray how they actually were subjects.
 
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