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DevDiary 20 - Religion


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Hello friends and welcome to the 20th DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign”! Today we will start talking about religion, going through all key points of the feature and the common gameplay options it presents to all kingdoms. Though this is not one of the central elements of the game, it still plays a big importance and different religions offer quite a few unique elements, thus leading to unique strengths and strategies the players can explore.

So, starting with the basics, we have 3 different religious “families” – Christianity, Islam and Paganism. Christianity has a subdivision to Orthodoxy and Catholicism and Islam – to Sunnism and Shiism. Indeed, we have considered Coptic Christianity, Ibadi Islam, Bogomilism and many others, as well as simply adding “heresy,” but we wanted to keep this feature simple enough, so we didn’t branch the religions any further. Things were getting way too burdening for the average player and the gameplay differences we would introduce were too insignificant compared to all the confusion. Paganism is the “religion” we made the biggest “historical” simplification to, as we unified all religions that are not Christian and Islamic in that category. As a result, this turned Pagans into more of a sandbox, which led to some really cool gameplay options for players. In another two or three DevDiaries we will have a deeper look on the specifics of each religion and sub-religion, but right now, we will focus on the common stuff.

 

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For starters, religion plays a role in kingdom-to-kingdom relations. This means that kingdoms from one and the same religion are more eager to sign trade agreements, non-aggression pacts, marriages and others. In the same vein, kingdoms from different religions are more aggressive towards each other, especially if a “heathen” (in their eyes) takes hold of a holy city.

Depending on the religion, kingdoms also have slightly different building possibilities – the Christians have Churches, Cathedrals and Universities, the Muslims have Mosques, Grand mosques and Madrasahs, while the Pagans only have Temples. Within those (and within other buildings), there are some different upgrades, effects and requirements, so some resources are more valuable to kingdoms following specific religions. Certain types of units may also require a specific religion – for example, only Catholic kingdoms may recruit Templar Knights.

Within a kingdom, religion plays a significant role, as provinces that preach religions different than the official one of the kingdom have some religious tension. Ruling over a Shia province within a Sunni kingdom leads to a smaller hit to the local stability, for example, but if it was within a Catholic kingdom – well, that could be trouble. On top of that, religious settlements such as Shrines and Monasteries aren’t so beneficial to a Muslim kingdom and pre-built (from the previous owner) buildings like Cathedrals or Temples also have very limited bonuses.

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And here comes one very important role of each Cleric/Scholar/Shaman (called differently depending on their kingdoms’ religions) – the “Preach” action. This is a slow and very expensive action, which costs both gold and piety/faith/tradition – the main “currency” for all kinds of religious actions, named differently for each religion. Preaching is done in a region – a starting province is selected and once it’s converted, the religious character will simply continue to another near-by one. If he succeeds to convert the religion of a province, this will ease the tension and convert the religious settlements in it to the one of his kingdom’s type – e.g. Temples will convert to Monasteries if the religion of a Pagan province is converted to Christianity. All previously built structures will also continue to function, with the caveat that some effects related to buildings like Universities and Cathedrals might be altered, or even stop working. And besides being expensive, the “Preach” action also presents a serious threat to the life of the religious person doing it, especially if crown authority is low, the kingdom is at war, or the knight is of lower level.

If a religious character learns the “Charity” skill, he also gains an additional action – “Commit to charity”. As you’ve probably guessed, this is also an expensive one that has an upkeep, and while the cost scales with the size of the kingdom, so does its effect, as it increases the stability within all provinces. There is no limit to how many knights can perform this action at once, so if things start to get really ugly within a kingdom, having several of them committed to charity can really be life-saving.

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Apart from these character actions, there are also a few key religion-specific ones that Clerics/Scholars/Shamans can utilize, but we’ll touch on them in more detail in future dev diaries, when we delve more in-depth into each specific religion. Of course, when not performing any actions, religious characters continue to play a key role in governing, particularly if you have provinces which have a lot of religious settlements. For example, putting a cleric in a province with many monasteries will result in a steady influx of faith and books, which in combination with the right buildings can turn the realm into an important location for boosting your kingdom’s culture.

Finally, one common action that is available to all kingdoms is the option to accept a new religion. This is a kingdom action, instead of a knight’s one, and can be extremely risky. Even upon success, it has some consequences, like possible rebellions, religious characters leaving your court due to disapproval of the change, and a severe drop of the opinion of your religious cast. Failing adds a huge crown authority drop on top of that. To increase its chances, a kingdom needs to have many provinces already preaching the target religion, as well as a respected king, preferably skilled in some particular disciplines like Theology, Leadership and others. But, of course, changing a religion can open huge gameplay possibilities and instantly has an effect on the diplomatic relations, both to kingdoms following its old and its new religion. This action is easiest for pagans, as they don’t have such a strong religious institution and are the least reluctant to accept another religion. 

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But in the end, we’d love to hear on your opinion on the topic! Are you the type of player who enjoys delving into the religious side of things in strategy games, or do you prefer to take on a different approach? And do you see yourself using many religious characters in your court, in comparison to other classes?

We’ll talk more about Religion in our DevStream on Thursday, July 22nd, @ 3:00 PM GMT / 11:00 AM EST and we’ll be thrilled if you join in our conversation – we will talk more in-depth about our approach to designing the religions in our game, some key differences between each one and how vital of a role religious characters have. The Twitch stream will be hosted on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic and we’ll be grabbing responses from this post as well as answering questions live during the stream.

Next time we will return to the topic of Multiplayer, talking more about starting conditions, rules and how those can shape each campaign. Until then, we bid thee farewell!


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33 minutes ago, Bassilisk said:

I'll be waiting for the live stream to hear more and will read more but for now I get ththe first cooment.... muahhahah

Nice!

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Hello there dear Devs,

I just want to wish you a happy and wonderful summer! Find some time to rest and relax, life’s not all work!

In this regard here is my question:

Will Black Sea Games go to Black Sea this summer? 🙂 

 

Also, dear Brad, please confirm to us that Robin and Yannick are safe and OK, as we heard very concerning news from Germany recently!

 

That’s all! Thank you very much! I am indeed watching the devstreams later, but my workdays are very busy atm. Please keep the gameplays rolling, they are greatly appreciated!

 

Kind Regards!

Edited by Yavor
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1 hour ago, THQN Brad said:

keep this feature simple enough

I don't think this is the best approach as doing this may end up with some culture/religious groups having the feel that they are neglected or misrepresented

 

1 hour ago, THQN Brad said:

Paganism is the “religion” we made the biggest “historical” simplification to, as we unified all religions that are not Christian and Islamic in that category

For me this sounds too broad and creates the the issue mentioned above. Even though the term "Pagan" might be correct from the eyes of a Christian medieval nation, from the perspective of the pagan is not, because the pagans are too different from each other in their beliefs, rituals, the gods they worship, etc.

With that said, I can't agree with this:

 

1 hour ago, THQN Brad said:

As a result, this turned Pagans into more of a sandbox, which led to some really cool gameplay options for players.

I would find this very repetitive and XP similar to the previous one. What will be the difference in terms of religion and religious events when playing with a Pagan (Norse) Dane vs. Pagan (Tengri) Khazars, Avars (why not even Bulgaria) type of nation  vs.  Pagan Mid-Central African nation?

1 hour ago, THQN Brad said:

Bogomilism and many others, as well as simply adding “heresy,”

Believe me I would love to create a Heretic kingdom and spread the Heresy everywhere, even turn the Pope to be a Heretic if I had that option in the game.

 

1 hour ago, THQN Brad said:

Finally, one common action that is available to all kingdoms is the option to accept a new religion.

I would love to see more variety of that, even why not going back to the old religions and try to force it to others.

 

Final question:

Do you plan to expand the depth of the religion later and adding more variety and options for religions in the form of game updates or DLC?

 

PS. Thanks for the post @THQN Brad sorry I started directly with quotes, Cheers!

Edited by BC Knight
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It is clear to me, that the described system is very one sided. It makes significantly easier to wage war and conquer kingdoms and provinces of the same religion while having a significant drawbacks for captured territory of another religions.

In my mind, it should be a significant advantage to wage direct war on another religion, not the other way around. While a preferable way of dealing with same religion should be diplomacy and espionage. In the described system of religion it makes zero reason to deal with a single foreign religion province if you have same religion lands available.  Yes you can, but this is unreasonably costly and prone to negative effects, for a little to no extra gain.

This is very backwards on itself and moreover and very questionable for overall balance due to the fact that some kingdoms will have a homogeneous surroundings while others will have mix of religions around them.

It appears that a choice of religion, for the large part is pretty much defined by the initial starting conditions, such that it is more or less irrelevant on a player choices as the choices for a given geo location/kingdom are not even remotely equal. For historical reasons we cannot possibly change that. So I think there needs to be a better way of playing around "religion" for any fixed starting location as people will tend to play over an over again a selected few kingdoms they like.

 

I would advise you to think through a possibility of another "kingdom power"-like parameter or scale. A religious one. So you can be on a spectrum of between "zealot" or pretty lets say "agnostic". If you are going to zealot end you will get more bonuses of the religion but have a significant hit on multicultural/ethnic issues. It needs to be a way to replay same geo/nation location with a different approaches or balance to religion. I think religion with a given scope of all of global map, but a very definite player presences in a few nations needs to be more flexible and more open for choices.  Zealots would have to attend to things like crusades more while having less ability to co-govern mixed population. Agnostic powers would have a lot of flexibility to pacify but gain little from their main religion, yet maybe risk heresy or something from the other more hardline kingdoms or the same religion.

 

 

Edited by William Blake
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Hello guys,
its been a while i am not that close to the game presentation. Just read a few things now.
I also feel that i wanted some more depth in relegion. I think i have in my mind my experiences in Ck2 and expect something like this.
But i know that this is a unique game, as it always was. 
I may need something more like this, or more like that, but at the end, I know i can trust the experts.
They amazed me once, i believe they can do it again. 

If gamers gonna love this game, some dlcs will satisfy the most demanding ones.
Keep on the good work guys!
 

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1 hour ago, Yavor said:

Also, dear Brad, please confirm to us that Robin and Yannick are safe and OK, as we heard very concerning news from Germany recently!

 

 

Hey Yavor,

Yannick and I are ok. Fortunately we both don't live in the affected parts of Germany. 🙂

Have a great summer!

Robin

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I'll have to reserve comments until you get deeper into religion.  There is simply not enough information to make any kind of judgment on the system.

I personally like to see religion in the game.  I'd like to see more of it, in terms of how it can affect things.  It can be its own side game, ala Civilization VI.  But I can see how you want to keep it relative to how it was in the original KoH.

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12 hours ago, Grumpy Robin said:

Hey Yavor,

Yannick and I are ok. Fortunately we both don't live in the affected parts of Germany. 🙂

Have a great summer!

Robin

Great to hear Robin! Take care, I'm glad you're safe! 🙂 

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This is very interesting! Although I have to agree with BC Knight when it comes to paganism. It would be cool to return to old religion but I understand that this would mean adding a lot of religions (and different types of temples) which would feel a bit out of place for a game that is simple.

So perhaps in future DLC (perhaps even Judasim and Zoroastrianism) 

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