DevDiary 21 - Royal Dungeon
Hello friends and welcome to the 21st DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign”! We initially planned to talk more about Multiplayer in this one, but since we are still iterating on a few settings and the lobby UI, we decided to tell you first about the Royal dungeon – how knights get imprisoned, what events can take place afterwards and actions undertaken – by the prisoners’ kingdoms and by the “dungeon keepers”.
Surely, the most common way knights get imprisoned in KoH2:S is in battles – when Marshals, or any other knights leading armies, fail to retreat in time and lose, they are either killed on the battlefield, or more often – captured. Historically, it was very common practice for noblemen to make their status and heraldry noticeable, and the enemy soldiers knew that they are worth much more alive than dead.
Spies, of course, can also often get imprisoned, considering the illegal and risky nature of their activity in foreign kingdoms. Sometimes, even more peaceful and “innocent” knights can end up in a Royal dungeon. If war occurs with a kingdom where a merchant or diplomat is, there is some chance the enemies will hold them as prisoners. Also, the sneaky spies can try to frame knights on missions and, if successful, they get imprisoned in the kingdom they are in.
Once imprisoned, knights cannot perform any of their actions and the only role they continue to contribute with is governing. They cannot be assigned or reassigned as governors, but if they already were, then their advisors, skills and “governing policy” continue to affect their province. Not all prisoners are helpless, though. Leadership skill makes “Inspire riot” available and Plotting skill – “Organize escape”. These are both risky actions, but still – a possibility for the imprisoned knights to escape on their own.
They can also be rescued from the outside. Spies can try to help own or friendly prisoners escape and this is not an opportunity, but simply an action – when a spies arrive in kingdoms, they can immediately start plotting the escape.
There are risk-free ways of getting back imprisoned knights. There is the diplomatic way, convincing the other kingdom to let them go, or paying a requested ransom. There is nothing that can go wrong in both cases and the kingdom’s nobility will appreciate the effort of saving one of them.
In case none of these options is available or affordable, imprisoned knights can simply be abandoned. This, of course, decreases the Nobility opinion, but frees the prisoners’ position in the Royal court, so that a new knight can be hired. After all, desperate times call for desperate measures.
When kingdoms capture a knight, there are several actions available. The most merciful is releasing that knight. If he is a foreign knight, that leads to relations improvement. Your noblemen would also approve that decision. They will also approve if the released prisoner is a knight of yours who rebelled against you – in that case, he will be back in the royal court. This will hurt your crown authority, though, as mercy against betrayers might be considered by some as a sign of weakness. Lastly, releasing simple rebels is well received by the peasantry and ill-received by the nobility. We are still considering adding the possibility to invite knights, renounced by their kingdoms, to become members of your royal court and this will most likely make it into the game.
Executing knights leads to pretty much the opposite results. If they are foreign knights, this will surely worsen your relations and in times of peace, lead to a crown authority loss, as it is considered rather barbaric. Executing your own knights is frowned upon by the nobility, but increases crown authority. Crown authority is also increased upon executing rebels and some gold is acquired. Sometimes nobility would also approve, but the peasantry will definitely not and sometimes the clergy as well – after all, rebels are part of the local population and often popular among them.
Finally, there is the “deal” action. Prisoners can be given some funds to lead a rebellion in another kingdom. This can end in many ways – the prisoner might really become a loyalist rebel leader, he can just go rogue and lead an independent rebellion, or even take the gold and disappear. As powerful as they can be, such shady dealings are always a bit of a gamble.
Even if no actions are taken, various events can occur within a dungeon. Prisoners can die there, escape by themselves or even form riots or mass escapes. The last two options are more likely to happen if a royal dungeon gets filled up over a certain threshold, which can be increased by some traditions and buildings. Thus, it is generally unwise to keep too many important people in a dungeon for a long time and getting rid of at least some of them from time to time, one way or another, will reduce the likelihood of such unwanted events.
In this section of the DevDiary, we’d usually say something like “we’d love to hear what you’d like to do with your prisoners”, but it sounds kind of wrong and we are also afraid what you might answer… But, jokes aside, tell us what you think of these features – do these actions and options sound interesting to you and if you have other ideas – feel free to share them – who knows what neat features can still make it into the game.
We’ll talk more about Royal Dungeon in our DevStream on Thursday, September 2nd, @ 3:00 PM GMT / 11:00 AM EST and we’ll be thrilled if you join in our conversation. Do come right in, our wardens expect you! If you behave nicely and do not ask for the release date of the game, we might even lower the ransom price for letting you go. 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 as planned, talking more about starting conditions, rules and how those can shape each campaign. Until then, we bid thee farewell! Go forth and conquer!