[suggestion] Imperial bureaucratic government - how could it work

[suggestion] Imperial bureaucratic government - how could it work

  • Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

elvain

Africa & MidEast cartographer
33 Badges
Jan 20, 2004
4.594
2.675
www.rome.webz.cz
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Cities: Skylines Industries
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Cities: Skylines - Campus
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Cities: Skylines
  • 500k Club
  • Rome Gold
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II
The announcement of Jade Dragon has initiated quite a few discussions about whether there will be imperial bureaucratic government and more importantly, if this system would be playable. While there are serious doubts that such system could be playable within the current game mechanics, I will try to think about the possibilities we could have.

You may know my other suggestions, such as The Qabila, in which I presented ideas about how Muslim tribal societies could work(mainly here, here and here), how Islam could be enhanced and how the game could introduce things such as Cadet branches, playable slave mercenaries or potentialy playable theocracies in form of religious brotherhoods/movements/orders and other things. I also tried to give some basic introduction of muslim bureaucratic systems as I have learned about them.

Here I will try to expand these budeaucracy ideas into a separate system.

Not all of these ideas are genuinely mine, some of them I have borrowed from others while roaming on these forums and tried to develop them into a comperhensive system. If you have anything to add, please do it. It will be very appreciated.


When talking about imperial bureaucratic government, there are various important questions which need to be solved first:
1) How to make the imperial bureaucratic system work together with CK2 principles of dynastic rule? The essence of bureaucratic system is that the ruler appoints his officials for a period of time and the officials often can't really control that they will keep the office, either for themselves or for their heir. There should be a tool in which the bureaucrats should be able to survive even if they don't hold a landed title. Since most if not all medieval bureaucratic states were centered around a court or a Palace, I thought about introduction of The Palace mechanic, in which there would be circa 10 bureaucratic families struggling for imperial offices. More about it later.

2) What would be the goals of bureaucratic families? The system should be somehow vital to prevent the problems of Tribal government, where the ultimate goal of Tribal governments is to get rid of their government and become Feudal or Republic. This should be avoided and the bureaucrats should have goals which would not force them to leave the system they are in. At the same time, introducing this system should be a goal of many if not all large kingdoms and empires.
This means the bureaucratic empire should enable some kind of hereditary rule - at least for the emperor, but perhaps also on other levels? Will be explained later...

3) How to set a Game over for bureaucratic family and how to make them somehow dynamic. If the palace would have some 10 bureaucratic families, how should we make it possible that a family gets eliminated? This game over should enable both some dynamism, so a new families can get there (from our experience in empires such as ERE, Seljuk or other muslim empires, it shouldn't be that hard), but at the same time it should also enable long lasting and strong dynasties expand their power and be powerfull and influential enough so they could threaten or even replace the ruling dynasty. How will a bureaucratic dynasty end and how will it become prominent?

4) How to deal with county level rulers. In current semi-bureaucratic system of viceroys, these are hereditary and that is also how I suggested it for muslim bureaucratic system, despite it being largely ahistorical. How to deal with it to make it practical, but at the same time to prevent too much micromanagement?


I will try to outline a system here which could deal with these questions. This concept is based on what I have learned about systems in regions I know a little, this means pre-feudal Bohemia, Islamic world and partly Byzantine empire/ERE. If anyone knows the Chinese system, or has good knowledge of the Byzantine system, I'd be glad for your inputs which could adjust the ideas I will try to outline here.

In all of the above-mentioned societies the bureaucracy was more or less concentrated around royal/imperial court. In various societies it had various forms. In ERE it was the Constantinople, The empire of Great Seljuks had 2 kinds of court - a military one which traveled with the Sultan, and the bureaucratic administration. Throughour the time these 2 institutions more or less merged and were dynamicaly influencing each other. In other islamic empires it was also usualy tied to the capital. And as somebody else already suggested here, it would be good if the bureaucrats would have palaces similar to merchant families in The Republic. So let's talk about the base of the imperial bureaucracy, the Palace:

The Palace
The bureaucratic/imperial system should introduce a new "administrative window" next to laws, council, military, intrigue etc. called The Palace*.
It would offer an overview of all the bureaucratic dynasties inside your empire.
At imperial level the ruler can overview his own imperial Palace, but when picking a character, he may use also characters from minor Palaces, which are tied to de jure kingdoms he or his viceroys hold. The overview would look similarily to Republic window, but you would also be able to see all e_ and k_ titles you hold (or are subordinated to you), just like in the case of laws, and you can overview the Palaces tied to those titles.


On the Screenshot of the Palace overview we can see 10 bureaucratic families (those in the second layer are just copycats who can't find their own names :D),
each with its own respect (prestige) and palace and below the palace, there is a Chair icon, which indicates how many offices the family currently holds - be it administrative, military or court offices - within the empire.
In the upper part we can see the emperor and his successor, there should also be visible successor law and perhaps some icon to give you an easy approach to faction and laws window, since these should most probably be the ones used the most.
Above the emperor you can see the Imperial CoA as well as 2 kingdom level CoAs which indicate that there are 2 kingdom titles subordinated to the emperor with bureaucratic system (these kngdom titles can either be directly held by the emperor or - more often - be kingdom tier viceroyalities, which can have their own Palaces.

* There should be cultural/reliigious mutations for the interface and the name of the Palace.

-----------------
Goals of bureaucratic characters/dynasties
The main goal of all bureaucratic characters would be to become the ruler of the empire and if possible make the imperial rule hereditary. At this point the goals of the imperial dynasty and other bureaucratic dynasties are in absolute oposition. From the perspective of imperial bureaucratic families (which don't rule now), the rule can be acheived through various ways:
1) Usurpation of imperial title either via regency or other influential office
2) Become elected emperor
3) Use factions, diplomacy and/or threats

The possibilities / tools for bureaucratic families
His family owns one of the palaces and his aim is to collect as many prestige as possible because if the prestige collected during certain time period is below certain level (TBD), the palace would be lost ( => GAME OVER).
There are various ways how to get prestige, most of them are some kind of offices inside the empire, but there are also other, less official or sometimes even less legal ways.
1) Serving as ruler's military commander or other "minor title"
2) Serving as mercenary (or slave captain or advanturer)
3) Serving at the council

4) Tax farming and buying landed offices
5) Usurpations of imperial land leading to establishment of landed dynasty
6) Buying landed property leading to establishment of landed dynasty
7) Negotiating and intriguing to acheive change of laws and government from imperial to Feudal/Iqta system

Some of these steps are tied to the empire in which the palace is located (1, 3, 4, 6, 7), others can be done outside its boundaries. Some of them are dependent on the will of the imperial ruler and in imperial system may only last temporarily...

Details about those things will be elaborated later...
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:

Bearnest

Makabe Rokurota's Compadre
25 Badges
Jul 1, 2014
740
284
  • Crusader Kings III
Impressive 4k screenshot!!!!
There should probably be some sort of prestige-tier, so families with more prestige get access to Viceroyalties whereas families with less prestige get the outer rims of the Empire or lower level bureaucracy. Akin to the current Council mechanics, where dukes and kings get mad at you for not being in it (and are prone to rebellion,) more prestigious families will resent not getting the most prestigious posts.
 

SeekTruthFromFx

Colonel
48 Badges
Sep 17, 2013
1.197
61
  • For the Motherland
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Semper Fi
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Victoria 2
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Rome Gold
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
First of all, I have to say that I love the artwork. :p Simple, clear and effective!

Secondly, there are some brilliant ideas in the OP. We know the family palace system works because of The Republic, so it's got possibilities for creating an imperial bureaucratic government. @elvain has also been careful to avoid some potential traps by thinking about Game Over and the critical question of whether this government is an alternative to or precursor to feudal rule.

Thirdly, some hopefully constructive comments.

Imperial Government in the post-Roman world
Much of the fun about CK2 is about trade-offs, and also about saving up for a run at playing at a higher level.
- As a feudal ruler, more holdings means more power and money, but then you run up against the demesne/vassal limits. When do you go up a tier?
- As a Patrician, more dynastic males means more trade posts, but also means sharing the revenue with them. When do you expand again?
- As a nomad, destroying holdings increases your population, but leaves you less to pillage and leaves you in a weaker position for tribalization or feudalization. When do you settle down?

The equivalent dynamic in an imperial bureaucratic government is that you gain power as you get closer to the emperor (or empress as appropriate), but living close to the emperor is living dangerously. In particular, as a minor official you can gain prestige for yourself. If you're a Byzantine official in Athens, leading the procession into the local basilica is the thing that gains you the most prestige. If you're a Byzantine official in Constantinople, leading a procession into Hagia Sophia will be the last thing you do. To change metaphors, the high officials are merely the platform on which the emperor is raised to display his glory to the populace. So higher offices should command higher salaries, but you should be expected to spend your money on the emperor's palace and on things that will bring the emperor prestige to keep him happy. This fundamental trade-off can partly be modelled through events and upgrades to palaces. But I think you basically need for occupants of the higher offices to automatically have a negative opinion modifier from the emperor that grows with their prestige (perhaps based on the ratio of their prestige to the emperor's). But at the same time, if the bureaucrat's prestige falls too low, they risk being ejected from office, and even the game (Game Over). That dynamic could be the key one when playing as an Imperial Bureaucrat. It might be developed by having several tiers of imperial offices, which are (metaphorically) in concentric circles around the emperor. But I don't know whether it makes sense in the Muslim world - that's @elvain's speciality.

Factions
In an imperial system, membership in a faction tends to be even more risky than normal: either you're part of the ruling junta or the emperor sees you as a deadly threat. (To see this at work in a 21st century imperial system, just look at current Chinese politics). You only join a faction if you really trust the other members. People are less likely to join the kind of ad hoc factions we see in CK2 feudal realms. So they ought to be much more permanent. If a member of your faction is on the Imperial Council, then you should be able to expect them to shelter you a little from the burning heat of the imperial sun.

Imperial Government in China
I understand that this government is intended to be useful for China too. I think that could work well, because imperial government in China was also about access to the emperor.

However, the defining characteristic of feudal Europe is that (outside the institutional church) it had a militarized élite. Power and prestige came from battle and you were only as good as your next battle. CK2 reflects that very, very well with levies, CBs, etc. Pretty much all grand strategy games are built around war, because moving units on maps captures one aspect of what military commanders do. Reading a book about military strategy really can make you a better CK2 player. This is also why CK2's feudalism is a fair representation of some periods of Byzantine rule: while it always had a bureaucratic core, there were several centuries when military success was essential to high office.

What is noteworthy about Chinese imperial government is that it was a literary élite. Yes, there were generals, but at the highest level, power and prestige came from cultural capital and you were only as good as your last examination. Jonathan Spence's Treason by the Book shows how bureaucrats' careers could be ruined by the wrong literary interpretation. The best way to model that would be to actually require players to show cultural knowledge to win the game,* but that's impossible with CK2 as we have it now. However, CK2 models very well another aspect of Chinese society: the importance of interpersonal relationships (guanxi). Without a family you can't win; without friends you won't win. Here are some initial thoughts about how integrate those two aspects:

- To enter the imperial offices described by @elvain, characters would need to pass the triennial examinations at appropriate levels. But only the characters with the highest Learning would pass (only a certain percentage, perhaps set by Crown laws). This would give the unique dynamic trade-off that I've discussed above: if you enter yourself or your relatives too soon, you could lose a huge amount of prestige. Even if you scrape a pass, you might make a crucial misinterpretation of a poem at a later point. But if you wait too long, you won't have enough time to reach the higher offices. If your students wait too long, you won't be able to fill the lower offices with the proteges who provide your power base. When do you (or your students) go for a higher degree? Is it worth spending your Favors to lower examination standards to get your Dull heir through?

- Getting the right guardian for your characters' education would be critical, both to increase their Learning attribute and for guanxi: they would be your mentor for life, and give you access to a semi-permanent faction. Being out of office needn't be a disaster if you can mentor the next generation of officials at your rural retreat - if you're lucky, your former students and newfound friends might even secure your rehabilitation in your own lifetime.

- As in real Chinese life, characters would have opinion bonuses for people from the same province, providing a strong basis for faction-building. A wise emperor might adopt the Qing dynasty rules that officials must move to a new province every three years - and never to their home province.

One other aspect to consider is that many important officials were, erm, cut off from family life. That wiki article cites S.E.Finer's History of Government, which I read a couple of decades ago. It's the ideal book for this thread, because it tries to describe the 'rules of the game' for each important system of government down the ages. IIRC, Finer argues that the eunuchs held key roles in the system and sometimes succeeded in completely isolating the emperor from the rest of the world. For a Chinese imperial bureacuracy, there should really be some kind of challenge to your power from eunuchs, as in older versions of EUIV. Though if your dynasty really falls foul of the imperial wrath, you may find that you have more allies among the eunuchs and concubines than you expected!

TL;DR: @elvain has great ideas for Imperial Bureaucratic government, but perhaps they could be improved by creating dynamics around access to the emperor and (in China) literary education.

* Footnote: The best way to model imperial China

I have long dreamed of a Paradox grand strategy game that really modelled imperial China. Mandarin would be based on the game we know and love, but you would need to progress up the imperial bureaucracy by passing the imperial examinations. This would be modelled by actually passing tests! You would advance in-game through answering multiple-choice questions about the Chinese language. The first time you play, it would be simple questions about about words like "you" and "China". If you keep getting 100%, you would advance rapidly in-game, but the questions would get steadily harder. If the algorithm suggested you were a native speaker, you'd eventually be answering questions about The Analects in classical Chinese! If you kept getting 10%, then you would have to re-do the same questions again until you got them right - just as in history, simple memorization would be a winning strategy. But you'd also be able to fight off the nomadic invasion, get the maidservant pregnant, and all the other CK2 stuff we love! I think the kind of people who play PDX games would walk away from each game with a massive sense of achievement and it would go down very well with the Chinese market too.

"Only the greatest Mandarin will win the Dragon Throne..."

Alas, it ain't gonna happen unless a bored billionaire is reading this forum.... :(
 
Last edited:

Ferrero

Second Lieutenant
10 Badges
Jul 26, 2004
112
210
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
Excellent suggestion.
What I suggest is making the "family estates" the basic holding for all dynasties. These would be barony-level holdings, much like the patrician palace, that could upgraded, but they would be divided into two categories:

  • the palace, like the one we already have. Each non-nomadic dynasty has one, located in a province. It can be upgraded, but only patricians and some bishops will start with something more than a basic building. The palace can however be raided, damaged and conquered, leading to an ultimate game over.
  • the estates: these are the land estates, agrarian based, and the number per province is limited (must not take into account the max holding numbers, as the 6 holding counties represent cities). All feudal, iqta and tribal characters have them, even more than one and in several provinces, but they are tied to the character, not the dynasty. Their upgrading potential is limited, and in the long run it will be difficult to be as profitable as a well-developed palace. They have their own tab in the province.
  • nomads will retain their current system.
Now, if you are a typical feudal lord, nothing much changes: you have your desmene, which is yours for all intents and purposes, and maybe land estates. If you happen to be the dynasty leader as well, you control the palace too. But, if for any reason you lose your last county it's not game over, but you switch to the dynasty patriarch (if it isn't you). In case he is landed, you continue as usual, otherwise you still have at least your main palace, from where plot your next move for your kinsmen or yourself.

Now, what happens in war? The estates are the most prone to damage, being an easy target for looters and other armies, they can be conquered in limited wars (like the trade wars) or they can be traded after a certain level of legalism. Palaces, on the other hand, can be heavily fortified and won't fall unless they are specifically targeted by a "dynastic purge", another limited war where the aggressor tries to evict the family from its holdings, making them exiles (or downright slaughtering them), meaning a true game over for the player. The now empty palace won't be occupied but it will provide a rich loot.
 

SeekTruthFromFx

Colonel
48 Badges
Sep 17, 2013
1.197
61
  • For the Motherland
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Semper Fi
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Victoria 2
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Rome Gold
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
What I suggest is making the "family estates" the basic holding for all dynasties. These would be barony-level holdings, much like the patrician palace, that could upgraded, but they would be divided into two categories...
  • the estates: these are the land estates, agrarian based, and the number per province is limited (must not take into account the max holding numbers, as the 6 holding counties represent cities). All feudal, iqta and tribal characters have them, even more than one and in several provinces, but they are tied to the character, not the dynasty. Their upgrading potential is limited, and in the long run it will be difficult to be as profitable as a well-developed palace. They have their own tab in the province.
  • nomads will retain their current system.
... The estates are the most prone to damage, being an easy target for looters and other armies, they can be conquered in limited wars (like the trade wars) or they can be traded after a certain level of legalism.
@Ferroro, I don't think there's any chance of PDX introducing palaces to feudal, iqta and tribal governments at this point. It would mean destroying vast amounts of working code and it would be such a fundamental change that it have to be a free patch, so it wouldn't earn them any money.

But I do think that the idea of "family estates" is genius. I've been thinking for a few years about how the post-Roman land tax could be implemented in CK2, as it's another big difference between the post-Roman regimes (Byzantium, the caliphate, Visigothic Spain) and feudal Europe. And it deals with @elvain's point 4:

Elvain said:
4) How to deal with county level rulers. In current semi-bureaucratic system of viceroys, these are hereditary and that is also how I suggested it for muslim bureaucratic system, despite it being largely ahistorical. How to deal with it to make it practical, but at the same time to prevent too much micromanagement?
What if we stopped thinking of holdings as about about those who ruled the province and started thinking about them as those who economically exploited the province? Under Imperial Bureaucracy, the Provincial Governor (count) could still have a watered-down Castle, but this should generate trivial revenues.*

Money would instead be generated by a new type of holding, Family Estate. It doesn't generate any levies at all. The "tax base" flows mostly to the owner, but Obligation laws would require a portion to be given to the emperor/empress as imperial tax. There would be two crucial changes that would require a bit of reworking of CK2 fundamentals:

- (1) The imperial tax money would go directly to the emperor/empress, rather than filtering through the feudal system. It would be possible for some to go to themes (kingdom-level) if the appropriate Crown law was set, perhaps as part of the journey to or from feudalization.

- (2) Characters could own Family Estates in any county in the empire. AFAIK, in CK2 feudal rulers can own castles in their own demense or anywhere in the realm of their de facto direct liege. So this could be implemented easily by making the emperor the direct liege of everyone in the entire empire.... but his Court and Vassal tabs might get quite congested! However, under @elwain's approach the heads of families with Family Palaces would surely have the emperor as direct liege, so they would then be able to accumulate/build Family Estates all over the empire. If they lost their Family Palace, then they would fall back to their Family Estate titles, which are barony-level and therefore Game Over for human players (unless they have taken the precaution of being made Provincial Governor somewhere).

*EDIT: It might even be better if the castles lose money, to be covered by the owner's imperial offices and Family Estates. The Romans sometimes struggled to persuade people to be officials in the late period. It also creates another 'interesting decision': you want some castles-and-governorships in case things go wrong at the capital, and perhaps also so you can raise the troops to protect your Family Estates against marauding crusaders/nomads/Vikings, etc. They'd also give prestige (particularly if you rebuilt the local Forum or Hospital) which helps you stay in office. But they're of no economic benefit at all, so you don't want too many.
 
Last edited:

icedt729

Lt. General
72 Badges
Dec 22, 2010
1.630
772
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Victoria 2
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Knights of Honor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
I agree with the idea of implementing a palace-based bureaucratic elite, and I particularly like the idea of families "losing" and being replaced if they don't maintain enough respect (or whatever the resource would be called). I would just add that in order to make that system work, council positions and minor titles would have to be made a good bit more powerful and prestigious. You'd also want a very robust set of events and decisions that set up dilemmas between short-term advantages for your family, relations with various factions, and the overall health of the realm. This will help set up the kind of vicious and cynical politics that will make imperial governments fun and challenging.
 

mudcrabmerchant

Deputy of the People
64 Badges
Nov 12, 2010
3.189
2.646
  • Rome Gold
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Darkest Hour
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Victoria 2
I doubt we'll be lucky enough to see this in CKII. But I do hope we can get the modding support necessary to do this ourselves, like being able to have family palaces tied to feudal-type titles.
 

elvain

Africa & MidEast cartographer
33 Badges
Jan 20, 2004
4.594
2.675
www.rome.webz.cz
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Cities: Skylines Industries
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Cities: Skylines - Campus
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Cities: Skylines
  • 500k Club
  • Rome Gold
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II
There were some excellent replies so far, especialy from @SeekTruthFromFx , thanks for them. Some of them are pretty much in accord with the concept, and some are very inspiring and I will integrate them into the detailed posts which are to come after the weekend.

I especially like the ideas about education and circles around the emperor...

I agree with the idea of implementing a palace-based bureaucratic elite, and I particularly like the idea of families "losing" and being replaced if they don't maintain enough respect (or whatever the resource would be called). I would just add that in order to make that system work, council positions and minor titles would have to be made a good bit more powerful and prestigious. You'd also want a very robust set of events and decisions that set up dilemmas between short-term advantages for your family, relations with various factions, and the overall health of the realm. This will help set up the kind of vicious and cynical politics that will make imperial governments fun and challenging.
The large part of this concept is about little changes in imperial bureaucratic government. This system essentialy needs the offices to produce more prestige.
There should also be a set of events, event chains and decisions to each of them, which will make it playable (not boring).

Apart from building up your palace and intriguing there will have to be very important negotiations and interactions with the emperor and other bureaucrats.
Part of it will be hiring private armies and using them in facour of your other family members to gain or stay in their offices, or helping the emperor, dealing with (or being part of) corruption... Also the bureaucrats should always keep in mind that their primary goal is to ensure survival of the empire because their power rises and falls with it (if empire is lost, it is replaced by other system, the palace and its families get lost and only those who manage to retain landed property would survive.

Won't happen unless ck3.
I doubt we'll be lucky enough to see this in CKII. But I do hope we can get the modding support necessary to do this ourselves, like being able to have family palaces tied to feudal-type titles.
Frankly, I don't really think this could be done now. Certainly not for this, perhaps not even for the next DLC, perhaps not for CK2 at all. But hopefully the devs might at least unlock this for modding.
All in all I just like this kind of brain-storming :)
 
Last edited:

darthfanta

Basileus Basileōn
63 Badges
Apr 22, 2012
3.764
133
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings III
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
There is no kingdom in China(their kings are landless title,well,their dukes are the same too,commonly speaking),and the duchy-size-political-division in China called state(Zhou).
Depends on when you are talking.Early Han Dynasty had full fledged kingdoms within their borders,coming granted to agnatic relatives of the emperor as appanage. This was also done in a smaller scale in early Jin and Ming Dynasty.
 

_Perun_

Colonel
1 Badges
Apr 1, 2016
968
374
  • Crusader Kings II
Hey Elvain, how many palaces should there be? Is the number fixed (a horrible idea, imo) or is tied to how many viceroyalties you can grant?
 

Silversweeeper

Lawful Evil Overlord
55 Badges
Aug 24, 2012
3.348
1.866
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
I overall like the idea, though some parts seem problematic. I have some thoughts on various bits and pieces below.

1) How to make the imperial bureaucratic system work together with CK2 principles of dynastic rule? The essence of bureaucratic system is that the ruler appoints his officials for a period of time and the officials often can't really control that they will keep the office, either for themselves or for their heir. There should be a tool in which the bureaucrats should be able to survive even if they don't hold a landed title. Since most if not all medieval bureaucratic states were centered around a court or a Palace, I thought about introduction of The Palace mechanic, in which there would be circa 10 bureaucratic families struggling for imperial offices. More about it later.
Appointments by the ruler, and the appointments being temporary, should probably be a thing in a bureaucratic system that is healthy, but if there has been a lot of corruption, a string of indifferent rulers (or regencies that didn't result in title loss) I think that it should be possible for the right to appoint people to pass to someone else (or to require council approval, etc.) and for appointments to be for life (or until the holder becomes discredited, incapable, or the like).

Not being required to be landed partially sounds good, but a problem is what you are going to be able to do when unlanded, particuarly if you don't find being at peace for long periods of time all that exciting. In the case of MR patricians, you have the trade post game to play and might be able to use your wealth to hire mercs and go out and conquer some cities (and, subsequently, counties), but if you are part of a bureaucratic empire that currently favours the ruler a lot and severely restricts the rights of vassals I'm not sure you'd be able to hire a bunch of mercs without the emperor percieving you as a threat and trying to have you imprisoned/etc., and even without that issue you taking an army to go conquer something might be odd. Of course, there could perhaps be a way to petition the emperor to give you a certain amount of men to go conquer stuff, but if the emperor refuses (which I think should be an option, even if perhaps not always appreciated by various vassals) you will still be stuck at court (and perhaps under suspicion for wanting an army, having made new enemies because you seem to be trying to get more power, and having lost some standing due to being refused), and if the emperor approves (and you win the war) he might be able to go "Well done! I'll take my new land and distribute it as I see fit!" because he gave you the means to take it (though doing that might of course piss off other vassals/bureaucrats that fear that he will steal "their" land in the future).

2) What would be the goals of bureaucratic families? The system should be somehow vital to prevent the problems of Tribal government, where the ultimate goal of Tribal governments is to get rid of their government and become Feudal or Republic. This should be avoided and the bureaucrats should have goals which would not force them to leave the system they are in. At the same time, introducing this system should be a goal of many if not all large kingdoms and empires.
This means the bureaucratic empire should enable some kind of hereditary rule - at least for the emperor, but perhaps also on other levels? Will be explained later...
I agree that getting out of the bureaucratic system shouldn't be something to strive for at all times, though on the other hand I don't think that it should be the end goal of all feudal entities as e.g. centralizing power without trying to make the realm less hereditary shouldn't always be a bad option.

3) How to set a Game over for bureaucratic family and how to make them somehow dynamic. If the palace would have some 10 bureaucratic families, how should we make it possible that a family gets eliminated? This game over should enable both some dynamism, so a new families can get there (from our experience in empires such as ERE, Seljuk or other muslim empires, it shouldn't be that hard), but at the same time it should also enable long lasting and strong dynasties expand their power and be powerfull and influential enough so they could threaten or even replace the ruling dynasty. How will a bureaucratic dynasty end and how will it become prominent?
Having lose conditions would certainly be good. Currently, MR families that don't hold any land/trade posts can still stick around for ages, which is rather strange as some lesser family ideally should be able to rise to prominence instead, and the same would be good for bureaucratic families.

4) How to deal with county level rulers. In current semi-bureaucratic system of viceroys, these are hereditary and that is also how I suggested it for muslim bureaucratic system, despite it being largely ahistorical. How to deal with it to make it practical, but at the same time to prevent too much micromanagement?
I sort of think that having a lot of micromanagement would be a good thing. It certainly wouldn't be extremely fun to manage every title in a huge empire, but it would sort of simulate that a disinterested ruler (or player) might be inclined to take shortcuts (read: Make decisions that aren't good for the realm/his family in the long term) such as:

- Making titles de facto hereditary. Of course, revoking the right for a family to keep inheriting a title (or the title itself) at a later date (without a good reason, such as the holder being a traitor, heretic, etc.) would probably piss off a large part of the realm.

- Appointing some palace bureaucrat to do it in your place. Obviously, a corrupt/ambitious person doing the job wouldn't necessarily do a great job, and you might find yourself with a bunch of vassals that love the guy that appointed them but don't particularly like you and thus might want to replace you with the other guy.

- Making large grants to the same person and letting them sort out the underlying details. Sure, the Exarch of Italy might love you now, but over time his love for you might wane or he might come to dislike your successor, and with a large amount of land he could have a shot at taking the throne by force.

- Granting land to other landed characters in the area. Would likely have the same problems as the above, as well as making them a bit more dangerous due to them possibly having a strong presence in the region already.

- Granting land to family members, temporary or permanently. Other vassals (and prospective grantees) would likely not appreciate the nepotism, and you'd also make (future) claimants stronger and thus make them more likely to be a threat. Also, they might not be good rulers just because they are related to you.

- Granting titles to random drinking buddies, friends, the brothers of that courtier you are trying to seduce, your loyal bodyguard, the fellow that always compliments you, random people at court (excluding rivals, heretics, etc.), or the like. These people might be reasonably loyal towards you (though perhaps not forever, and perhaps not towards your successor), but don't necessarily need to be competent because of that, and the friends/etc. that you don't land might be upset (thus pressuring you to grant more land to your friends).

- Trying to rule the land yourself. Obviously has an upper limit to what you realistically can handle (in-game, that would be the demesne limit), and your vassals might not like you growing your power very rapidly (e.g. going from two counties to five overnight).

In all of the above-mentioned societies the bureaucracy was more or less concentrated around royal/imperial court. In various societies it had various forms. In ERE it was the Constantinople, The empire of Great Seljuks had 2 kinds of court - a military one which traveled with the Sultan, and the bureaucratic administration. Throughour the time these 2 institutions more or less merged and were dynamicaly influencing each other. In other islamic empires it was also usualy tied to the capital. And as somebody else already suggested here, it would be good if the bureaucrats would have palaces similar to merchant families in The Republic. So let's talk about the base of the imperial bureaucracy, the Palace:

The Palace
The bureaucratic/imperial system should introduce a new "administrative window" next to laws, council, military, intrigue etc. called The Palace*.
It would offer an overview of all the bureaucratic dynasties inside your empire.
At imperial level the ruler can overview his own imperial Palace, but when picking a character, he may use also characters from minor Palaces, which are tied to de jure kingdoms he or his viceroys hold. The overview would look similarily to Republic window, but you would also be able to see all e_ and k_ titles you hold (or are subordinated to you), just like in the case of laws, and you can overview the Palaces tied to those titles.


On the Screenshot of the Palace overview we can see 10 bureaucratic families (those in the second layer are just copycats who can't find their own names :D),
each with its own respect (prestige) and palace and below the palace, there is a Chair icon, which indicates how many offices the family currently holds - be it administrative, military or court offices - within the empire.
In the upper part we can see the emperor and his successor, there should also be visible successor law and perhaps some icon to give you an easy approach to faction and laws window, since these should most probably be the ones used the most.
Above the emperor you can see the Imperial CoA as well as 2 kingdom level CoAs which indicate that there are 2 kingdom titles subordinated to the emperor with bureaucratic system (these kngdom titles can either be directly held by the emperor or - more often - be kingdom tier viceroyalities, which can have their own Palaces.

* There should be cultural/reliigious mutations for the interface and the name of the Palace.
I can see a rather problem with the palaces as a whole: If the capital (or whichever county someone's palace is located in) gets conquered you'd obviously lose the palace. I suppose you could keep the family tied to it around but reset the palace if that happens (simulating the family getting a new palace), though. Of course, the loss of the imperial capital should have a big effect on the empire's overall health, so it being a shake-up would be good.

Having palaces tied to both the empire and various kingdoms might be good, but the problem is what happens if there are kingdoms that aren't held (at least not by someone in your realm). For example, if the ERE has half of Italy, half of Hungary, a duchy in Croatia, half of Egypt, and a significant presence in Syria (in addition to the fully held kingdoms of Greece (which likely wouldn't have a viceroy), Sicily, Anatolia, Bulgaria, and Serbia) but can't create the kingdom titles, there might still be local palaces in some of these places. I'm not quite sure how to best handle that, though, and not having vassal exarchs able to have their own palace intrigues seems bad, so cutting the local palaces would likely not be good.

Regarding the ten families, I think that the number shouldn't be fixed. For example a huge empire would likely need more bureaucrats, and a recently unlanded family might be able to get a palace to still be relevant. I think that having a minimum of say five families + one family per X provinces would be good (or perhaps per duchy the empire has land in), with that number being possible to exceed (though exceeding it should make it harder for the families to stay influential) but never drop below.

Local variations might be good.

-----------------
Goals of bureaucratic characters/dynasties
The main goal of all bureaucratic characters would be to become the ruler of the empire and if possible make the imperial rule hereditary. At this point the goals of the imperial dynasty and other bureaucratic dynasties are in absolute oposition. From the perspective of imperial bureaucratic families (which don't rule now), the rule can be acheived through various ways:
1) Usurpation of imperial title either via regency or other influential office
2) Become elected emperor
3) Use factions, diplomacy and/or threats
Having the bureaucratic families (and various vassals) and the emperor not want the same thing is obviously good (we already have that with vassals currently wanting a weaker ruler and the ruler wanting to gain more power). However, while it is somewhat historical, being able to usurp the title without a war/faction ultimatum seems potentially problematic to me, as it wouldn't be very fun (obviously usurpations shouldn't be fun when they happen to you, but still) if there were ways to lose your primary (and presumably also lesser titles, gold, artefacts, etc., perhaps getting killed/castrated/imprisoned, etc., and possibly suffering further consequences (e.g. finding it nearby impossible to curry favour with the new ruler because you are seen as a threat)) that weren't possible to prevent and that seemingly happened out of the blue. Perhaps there could instead be ways for unlanded bureaucrats to try to divert money to buy mercs/the loyalty of various regiments/etc. so that they could try to take the throne by force (or through threatening the ruler with a faction), but of course a failed attempt would likely end with that family being deprieved of their palace, losing favour, etc. and thus a game over.

The possibilities / tools for bureaucratic families
His family owns one of the palaces and his aim is to collect as many prestige as possible because if the prestige collected during certain time period is below certain level (TBD), the palace would be lost ( => GAME OVER).
There are various ways how to get prestige, most of them are some kind of offices inside the empire, but there are also other, less official or sometimes even less legal ways.
1) Serving as ruler's military commander or other "minor title"
2) Serving as mercenary (or slave captain or advanturer)
3) Serving at the council
4) Tax farming and buying landed offices
5) Usurpations of imperial land leading to establishment of landed dynasty
6) Buying landed property leading to establishment of landed dynasty
7) Negotiating and intriguing to acheive change of laws and government from imperial to Feudal/Iqta system

Some of these steps are tied to the empire in which the palace is located (1, 3, 4, 6, 7), others can be done outside its boundaries. Some of them are dependent on the will of the imperial ruler and in imperial system may only last temporarily...
I am not certain that Prestige is the best metric to use, as it can be impacted by a lot of things and some sources aren't controllable except in a global manner (e.g. prestige from held titles, prestige from marriages, and prestige from wars), so instead I'd suggest a new currency that only is used for bureaucratic empires: Influence (I don't want to call it Respect, because it would then be easily confused with the MR succession determinator). You'd ideally be able to spend Influence to request (in a refusable way; though refusing without a good reason should have consequences) various things (e.g. a landed title, a seat on the council, faction support). Some Influence would be lost upon succession to prevent hoarding it for generations, and some might occassionally be lost through events (e.g. backing the Blues/Greens when the Greens/Blues win), but you'd generally not drop dangerously low upon succession. The Emperor should also have Influence and be able to spend it on things, with low Influence emperors being more likely to be factioned/plotted/etc. against and also finding it harder to deal with problems.

Regarding the options to get the resource (whether Prestige or soemthing else), options 1 and 3 seem perfectly fine, options 4 and 6 (and, to a lesser extent, 5; usurping titles from the emperor would probably not be possible except if the emperor is very weak/has a regency/etc.) seem rather good (though of course you'd likely be less powerful at court if you are busy governing land far from it), and option 7 seems rather bad (because escaping from the system shouldn't (always) be the goal and the emperor shouldn't be willing to accept such a demand except under duress). Option 2 seems like it might not be a great idea because you'd not be at court (and thus wouldn't be able to kiss up to the emperor, wouldn't be able to defend yourself from slander, etc.), seems a bit contradictory with staying inside the system in the case of adventurers (unless they automatically became vassals of the empire upon victory; in that case, the targeting logic would need to be very restrictive to prevent e.g. the ERE coming into possession of some random duchy in northern Russia because an adventurer went far beyond their borders), and might not be overly profitable in the case of mercs (as you might not find an employer). I think there might be things to add to the list (e.g. marrying someone from a powerful family), but don't have too many ideas at present.


Also, regardless of how a bureaucratic system might be set up, I'd want it to be much easier to mod/tweak than nomads and MRs, both to allow it to simulate various historical bureaucratic realms that weren't exactly the same (e.g. the ERE vs. China), to allow people to add/change/remove various things that they want to change without running into hardcoded barriers very quickly, and to allow ahistorical bureaucratic realms (and perhaps even historical ones, over time) to try to set up bureaucracies that work rather differently (e.g. a hypothetical Norse bureaucratic empire where raiding and holding coastal counties gives you Influence).
 

Barón Rojo

★Sword of Rome★ ★Hammer of Heretics★
7 Badges
Nov 20, 2006
1.172
120
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Rome Gold
  • 500k Club
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
As I see it, there should not be any fixed number of families. Instead all the families in the empire have a "dynastic prestige" tied to their surname which allow them to buy posts in the government. Aside from the higher post like steward, etc. who would be appointed by the emperor, any other post would be "bought" with this family prestige (or with gold, I guess), even the Patriarch of Constantinople would be bought. This avoids micromanagement and adds depth to the game, emperors don't always have hand picked people in the posts; as court factions, people close to the emperor, provincial bureaucrats, etc. will cover many of the less important positions. Posts usually will be held during a period of time, with maybe some "waiting list" of characters waiting to take the post after them, and another post should be secured for the time they reach the end of the office, preferably a higher position.

To complete the system courtiers/vassals can band together and found their own cliques/camarillas who do favours to each others and try to get their people in positions of power, while bringing down other cliques/camarillas.

Families win prestige:
-Holding positions of power.
-Marrying with the Imperial family.
-Being friend of the emperor.
-Being friend of/marrying with another prestigious family (related to the other family prestige, so you choose the people you have relations with).
-Winning battles.
-Making merits, like writing a hagiography of the emperor, developing a province or performing well in a court position. etc.
-High cunning. Characters with high Intrigue, like eunuchs, would raise fast, but these newmen will bring the wrath of the old aristocratic families by bypassing them.

Lose prestige:
-Losing battles.
-Being outsmarted by other characters/factions in conspiracies.
-Falling out of favour, being anathemized or marginalized by the emperor.
-Being slow, drunkard, and other negative traits.
 
Last edited:

UltimatePaladin

Private
54 Badges
Mar 16, 2017
17
0
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • BATTLETECH
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • BATTLETECH - Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
Junior CK2 player here, but I feel a major concern with bureaucratic families is making them have agency in the game.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but a major component of the system is basically everything is a viceroyalty (governorship?) So when the appointed official dies (or gets revoked for incompetence,) you would then get that title back (and would have to soon give it out again.) What is supposed to happen, then, is you would give it out to one of the bureaucratic families (carefully managing them as to avoid making one of them too powerful,) right?

Though, whats stopping you from giving out the governorship to a random courier with high stewardship? Every other system has your vassals have their own holdings: they aren't entirely reliant on what their Liege gives them (even Merchant Republics: they have both their own palaces and trading posts to earn additional income.) Denying them high-ranking positions would anger them and make them a problem later on. From what I read here, however, bureaucratic families are reliant on the Emperor to give them positions of power - without the Emperor to need to give them those positions.

Depending on how armies are handled (I'm partial to using the Nomadic Manpower system, here, where the Emperor uses Manpower + Wealth to raise armies, given by Governors,) the Emperor will always have much greater armies than what the bureaucratic families would have, meaning that the faction system (which is based on relative manpower) would be completely broken.

Are these reasonable concerns or am I being unreasonable? Please help me understand, here.
 

Lemont Elwood

General
33 Badges
Jun 10, 2011
2.202
1.695
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
First of all, I have to say that I love the artwork. :p Simple, clear and effective!

Secondly, there are some brilliant ideas in the OP. We know the family palace system works because of The Republic, so it's got possibilities for creating an imperial bureaucratic government. @elvain has also been careful to avoid some potential traps by thinking about Game Over and the critical question of whether this government is an alternative to or precursor to feudal rule.

Thirdly, some hopefully constructive comments.

Imperial Government in the post-Roman world
Much of the fun about CK2 is about trade-offs, and also about saving up for a run at playing at a higher level.
- As a feudal ruler, more holdings means more power and money, but then you run up against the demesne/vassal limits. When do you go up a tier?
- As a Patrician, more dynastic males means more trade posts, but also means sharing the revenue with them. When do you expand again?
- As a nomad, destroying holdings increases your population, but leaves you less to pillage and leaves you in a weaker position for tribalization or feudalization. When do you settle down?

The equivalent dynamic in an imperial bureaucratic government is that you gain power as you get closer to the emperor (or empress as appropriate), but living close to the emperor is living dangerously. In particular, as a minor official you can gain prestige for yourself. If you're a Byzantine official in Athens, leading the procession into the local basilica is the thing that gains you the most prestige. If you're a Byzantine official in Constantinople, leading a procession into Hagia Sophia will be the last thing you do. To change metaphors, the high officials are merely the platform on which the emperor is raised to display his glory to the populace. So higher offices should command higher salaries, but you should be expected to spend your money on the emperor's palace and on things that will bring the emperor prestige to keep him happy. This fundamental trade-off can partly be modelled through events and upgrades to palaces. But I think you basically need for occupants of the higher offices to automatically have a negative opinion modifier from the emperor that grows with their prestige (perhaps based on the ratio of their prestige to the emperor's). But at the same time, if the bureaucrat's prestige falls too low, they risk being ejected from office, and even the game (Game Over). That dynamic could be the key one when playing as an Imperial Bureaucrat. It might be developed by having several tiers of imperial offices, which are (metaphorically) in concentric circles around the emperor. But I don't know whether it makes sense in the Muslim world - that's @elvain's speciality.

Factions
In an imperial system, membership in a faction tends to be even more risky than normal: either you're part of the ruling junta or the emperor sees you as a deadly threat. (To see this at work in a 21st century imperial system, just look at current Chinese politics). You only join a faction if you really trust the other members. People are less likely to join the kind of ad hoc factions we see in CK2 feudal realms. So they ought to be much more permanent. If a member of your faction is on the Imperial Council, then you should be able to expect them to shelter you a little from the burning heat of the imperial sun.

Imperial Government in China
I understand that this government is intended to be useful for China too. I think that could work well, because imperial government in China was also about access to the emperor.

However, the defining characteristic of feudal Europe is that (outside the institutional church) it had a militarized élite. Power and prestige came from battle and you were only as good as your next battle. CK2 reflects that very, very well with levies, CBs, etc. Pretty much all grand strategy games are built around war, because moving units on maps captures one aspect of what military commanders do. Reading a book about military strategy really can make you a better CK2 player. This is also why CK2's feudalism is a fair representation of some periods of Byzantine rule: while it always had a bureaucratic core, there were several centuries when military success was essential to high office.

What is noteworthy about Chinese imperial government is that it was a literary élite. Yes, there were generals, but at the highest level, power and prestige came from cultural capital and you were only as good as your last examination. Jonathan Spence's Treason by the Book shows how bureaucrats' careers could be ruined by the wrong literary interpretation. The best way to model that would be to actually require players to show cultural knowledge to win the game,* but that's impossible with CK2 as we have it now. However, CK2 models very well another aspect of Chinese society: the importance of interpersonal relationships (guanxi). Without a family you can't win; without friends you won't win. Here are some initial thoughts about how integrate those two aspects:

- To enter the imperial offices described by @elvain, characters would need to pass the triennial examinations at appropriate levels. But only the characters with the highest Learning would pass (only a certain percentage, perhaps set by Crown laws). This would give the unique dynamic trade-off that I've discussed above: if you enter yourself or your relatives too soon, you could lose a huge amount of prestige. Even if you scrape a pass, you might make a crucial misinterpretation of a poem at a later point. But if you wait too long, you won't have enough time to reach the higher offices. If your students wait too long, you won't be able to fill the lower offices with the proteges who provide your power base. When do you (or your students) go for a higher degree? Is it worth spending your Favors to lower examination standards to get your Dull heir through?

- Getting the right guardian for your characters' education would be critical, both to increase their Learning attribute and for guanxi: they would be your mentor for life, and give you access to a semi-permanent faction. Being out of office needn't be a disaster if you can mentor the next generation of officials at your rural retreat - if you're lucky, your former students and newfound friends might even secure your rehabilitation in your own lifetime.

- As in real Chinese life, characters would have opinion bonuses for people from the same province, providing a strong basis for faction-building. A wise emperor might adopt the Qing dynasty rules that officials must move to a new province every three years - and never to their home province.

One other aspect to consider is that many important officials were, erm, cut off from family life. That wiki article cites S.E.Finer's History of Government, which I read a couple of decades ago. It's the ideal book for this thread, because it tries to describe the 'rules of the game' for each important system of government down the ages. IIRC, Finer argues that the eunuchs held key roles in the system and sometimes succeeded in completely isolating the emperor from the rest of the world. For a Chinese imperial bureacuracy, there should really be some kind of challenge to your power from eunuchs, as in older versions of EUIV. Though if your dynasty really falls foul of the imperial wrath, you may find that you have more allies among the eunuchs and concubines than you expected!

TL;DR: @elvain has great ideas for Imperial Bureaucratic government, but perhaps they could be improved by creating dynamics around access to the emperor and (in China) literary education.

* Footnote: The best way to model imperial China

I have long dreamed of a Paradox grand strategy game that really modelled imperial China. Mandarin would be based on the game we know and love, but you would need to progress up the imperial bureaucracy by passing the imperial examinations. This would be modelled by actually passing tests! You would advance in-game through answering multiple-choice questions about the Chinese language. The first time you play, it would be simple questions about about words like "you" and "China". If you keep getting 100%, you would advance rapidly in-game, but the questions would get steadily harder. If the algorithm suggested you were a native speaker, you'd eventually be answering questions about The Analects in classical Chinese! If you kept getting 10%, then you would have to re-do the same questions again until you got them right - just as in history, simple memorization would be a winning strategy. But you'd also be able to fight off the nomadic invasion, get the maidservant pregnant, and all the other CK2 stuff we love! I think the kind of people who play PDX games would walk away from each game with a massive sense of achievement and it would go down very well with the Chinese market too.

"Only the greatest Mandarin will win the Dragon Throne..."

Alas, it ain't gonna happen unless a bored billionaire is reading this forum.... :(
Ew, I don't want to learn while I'm playing video games.