DevDiary 22 - Religion: Christianity
Hello friends and welcome to the 22nd DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign”! We decided to return to the Religion topic, started in DevDIary 20 in which we made an overview about the common Cleric actions and religion effects. Today we will take a closer look at Christianity – the religion, followed by the most European kingdoms at the historical period and region the game takes place in.
In KoH2:S, there are two vastly different branches (families) of Christianity – Catholicism and Orthodoxy. As we mentioned earlier, we’ve chosen this simplified model after considering and experimenting with a lot of variants and sub-branches, since we felt it serves best the purposes of the gameplay. Further segmentation seemed to bring a lot of complexity for little gameplay and strategical effect.
Catholic kingdoms have arguably the best starting bonuses – they have trading and commercial bonuses, as well as lower cost for buildings. Their religious gameplay is centered around the Papacy – good relations with it can lead to a lot of benefits, like promoting Clerics to Cardinals, which have significant bonuses on piety and books production, as well as on their actions. Eventually, when black smoke rises above the Sistine Chapel, one of the Cardinals is chosen to become the new Pope. In case the new Pope is not from the Papacy, the kingdom from which he was selected from loses him as a knight in their royal court, but now have new special actions available only to those very close to the Pope- like instigating a crusade or requesting a kingdom to be excommunicated.
When a Crusade starts, a strong army is assigned to a leader, chosen among those army leaders who are deemed worthy. Then the army marches (without any player’s or kingdom’s control) towards a chosen excommunicated or heathen kingdom. This powerful army will try to destroy its target, usually providing control over the conquered towns either to the kingdom of its leader, or to the Papacy. Sometimes, especially when their quest goes wrong, Crusades go rogue and can establish their own kingdom or simply turn to (in)famous rebels. Things can go wrong in quite a few ways, especially with some help, like assassinating its leader, pulling some strings with a spy to divert it, or destroying the Papacy just to name a few.
Playing as a Catholic kingdom is not as easy as it sounds, though. Its Clergy is the most demanding and easiest to offend – actions like attacking other Catholics and refusing Papacy demands will reduce Clergy opinion, as well as the relations with the Papacy. And Papacy’s demands are not always easy to fulfill – for example, gold is often demanded for crusades and the sums are definitely not neglectable. Getting excommunicated is also disastrous, as Catholics, hated and declared as an enemy to all other Catholics, may lead to a lot of problems and it is hard to receive an absolution from the Holy See.
There is also the danger that someone will overtake Rome and destroy the Papacy – regardless of the religion of the conqueror, the Papacy cannot exist while another kingdom holds Rome. This, of course, brings a lot of hatred towards the conqueror from all Catholic kingdoms and they will struggle to drive the invaders out and restore it. This will bring the liberator a lot of bonuses if accomplished– relations with the Papacy and the whole Catholic world, as well as significantly increased Clergy opinion.
Orthodox kingdoms have the highest books production. Their gameplay revolves around the relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchy and/or having an Autocephalous (independent) church. Claiming Autocephaly is not an easy task to do, though, as it requires high crown authority, a very experienced Cleric, and some sort of influence over the kingdom controlling Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarchy. The more autocephalous kingdoms there are, the harder it gets for a new one to be recognized as such, so usually reducing their numbers by force or espionage is usually a necessity.
Unlike in the case with Rome, controlling Constantinople means controlling the Ecumenical Patriarchy and the Ecumenical Patriarch himself. Every Patriarch, especially the Ecumenical, is a very powerful cleric with significant bonuses on books and piety production, as well as on their actions. Patriarchs also provide a few random bonuses (which significantly vary between one patriarch to another) to the entire kingdom. Orthodox kingdoms can choose among their clerics and a few characters, outside their court, to succeed the Patriarch title, once the previous one dies.
Both Catholic and Orthodox kingdoms can send their Clerics on missions in Constantinople AND Rome, where they get different bonuses depending on their sub-religion – books, piety, commerce and relations. If they are in the religious center of their own Church, the bonuses are increased, based on their level. Being on such missions allocates their full attention, but when they are needed for something else, they can quickly return to their kingdom and once the tasks at hand are done, they can easily return to the religious centers. In this aspect, Christian Clerics are more versatile to play with than Scholars and Shamans, as well as Merchants, who, in comparison, require more time to build up a good trade with a kingdom and lose that progress when they are recalled.
We’d like to hear what you guys think – which one do you think will be your preferred religion, or would you prefer to experiment and try all of them? Are you looking forward to leading mighty crusades, or do you prefer to pick kingdoms, following less demanding religions than Catholicism and focus on other kingdom aspects?
We’ll talk more about Christianity in our DevStream on Thursday, October 14th, @ 3:00 PM GMT / 11:00 AM EST and we’ll be thrilled if you join in our conversation. You can come and repent, ask for forgiveness, but Though Shalt Not ask for the release date! 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, if the Pope allows it, 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! Go forth and conquer!