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  • DevDiary 23 - Religion: Islam and Paganism

    Hello friends and welcome to the 23rd DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign”! In this one we will try to conclude the religion topic and take a look at Islam and Paganism and the unique gameplay they bring to the game. There is no connection between those two, of course, neither historically, nor gameplay-wise, but we decided to fit them in in one diary, as time is quickly progressing and there are a few other topics we are eager to tell you about and hear your thoughts.

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    Muslim kingdoms have passive advantages on faith and gold production, due to the devotion of their worshippers, as well as the talent of their exquisite craftsmen and merchants. They have different religious buildings and upgrades from the Christian ones, resulting in different needed goods and provided bonuses, but can be just as powerful. Even some shared buildings and upgrades provide different bonuses, e.g. Christians get happiness in provinces where Wineries are built, as well as additional commerce per Monastery. Since alcohol is forbidden in Islam, Muslims do not receive these bonuses, but have additional benefits from Spice shops, Carpetmakers and other things they value more and can benefit more from.

    Muslim scholars also have a unique action – they can set out on great journeys through the world, when opportunities for such arise. Once started, they will visit many cities along the way and often find trade prospects, strengthening their faith or gaining new knowledge. They can even, very convincingly, preach to the locals about the greatness of their kingdom or religion. However, regardless their persuasiveness, they can sometimes anger the locals and in times of war, suffer dire consequences for their actions or mere presence in some provinces.
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    The greatest achievement of a Muslim kingdom, however, is becoming a Caliphate. It is an extremely hard goal and can be achieved only by great kingdoms, ruled by great leaders. The title is a well worthy achievement, though, as Caliphates have significant diplomatic influence over the Muslim world and can declare a Jihad against their enemies. In this holy war the caliphate and its allies have higher morale and other bonuses against the infidels. The Islamic kingdoms are also usually eager to join, as this is a respected act and the sole participation, not to mention victory, increases the opinion of their Scholars.


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    In KoH2:S, there are two branches of Islam – Sunni and Shia. They differ mainly by the cities they consider holy and thus defend ferociously. Kingdoms, following Shia Islam, also have more difficulties in becoming caliphates and are usually more zealous and less tolerant against other religions.

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    Paganism is a very peculiar “religion” in KoH2:S, as we undertook a more gameplay-oriented approach for it. Instead of representing specific historical pagan kingdoms with the beliefs they had, we decided to leave that in the hands of the players. The religious noblemen here are called Shamans and each of them can promote one belief – like “Family”, “Raids”, “Conquest”, “Gods”, etc. Each of those provides bonuses to the entire kingdom and players can strategically pick their preferred combinations, or shape their kingdoms according to their fantasy, if they prefer a more immersive experience.


    Shamans have one additional huge benefit, compared to Scholars and Clerics – they can lead armies, even without learning a marshal (military) skill and their armies consist of up to 8 squads (considering that all other non-marshal characters can lead only up to 5). This makes them very versatile and the pagan armies can be numerous and devastating.
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    Unlike all other religions, paganism spreads by itself from province to province, even across borders. This can be very helpful in gaining the loyalty of both the domestic and foreign population, which respectively increase stability and can make conquest easier. Finally, it is much easier to change the religion of a pagan kingdom, so players can join the Christian or Muslim world at one point of the game more easily, if they see this as a good diplomatic or strategic move.

    Playing as a pagan kingdom is not as easy as it seems, though, as there are many drawbacks as well. They have very few and weak religious buildings and upgrades and cannot as easily develop their culture and knowledge, thus they cannot produce some important goods. Their book production is severely penalized, their gold income is slightly reduced and, last but not least, almost the entirety of the world looks down on them, which has its effect on diplomacy.

    We’d love to hear your thoughts on Islam and Paganism. Would you try to find the best strategies, strengths and weakness of kingdoms, following different religions, or would you pick one and focus on it? What pagan beliefs would you like to see in the game and promote, to fulfill your fantasy and do you find that “sandbox” approach interesting, or would you rather have a more historically accurate predefined setup instead?

    We’ll talk more about Islam and Paganism in our DevStream on Thursday, December 9th, @ 5:00 PM GMT / 12:00 PM EST and we’ll be thrilled if you join in our conversation. 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.


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    You mentioned that the Islamic religions of Sunni and Shia have different holy cities which they consider holy, and defend aggressively. 

    Could you explain more specifically how the AI Sunni and Shia treats these cities, with regards to diplomacy and war?

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    It's great to see this new part in the game, fantastic! It feels like playing all three major religion groups will feel exciting though with different gameplays, I love it!

     

    By the way a small question about modding: for instance, if I wanted to add another faith (in one of these religion groups), how easy would it be?

    Because I may have an idea for the time period... 👀

    Thanks again for this dev diary, indeed the content is very promising!

    Edited by Calliope
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    Problem with super aggressive pagans is that they are most of the time are geographically too remote to have significant reach. If you have to sail from Sweden and back all the time you will probably be less "productive" with you pillaging than some Croatia (for instance) which has other provinces all around at a walking distance.

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    I would love to play a realm with the Germanic faith. I know that the earliest starting date is in the 12th century though, so it doesn't make any sense. I still hope you will include a (much) earlier starting date, if not in the initial release then perhaps in a possible expansion.

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    2 hours ago, redsimon said:

    I would love to play a realm with the Germanic faith. I know that the earliest starting date is in the 12th century though, so it doesn't make any sense. I still hope you will include a (much) earlier starting date, if not in the initial release then perhaps in a possible expansion.

    I would just make a custom game option to select starting kingdom and any religion of choice.

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    On 12/9/2021 at 1:13 AM, Field Marshal said:

    Is it possible to convert to paganism from other religions? - Such thing was iirc impossible in KoH1.

    Also, can new religions be added (or existing ones expanded/modified) through modding?

    This would be quite cool though! I hoped KoHII would make it possible but it appears it would be mostly the same as KoH - not possible. 

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      I do like the flavours pagans get! However I am not sure about it spreading by itself.. I mean I can see it happen but it feels more suiting for heresy, especially spreading over borders. Paganism spreading like that would make more sense if there are more pagan faiths so it happens between them as some gods would be similar.

      However considering the year of early start date it makes no sense to add different pagan faiths at all as paganism was already on decline. And it would make it too complex for KoHII and weird because there is no Judaism, Coptic nor Zoroastrianism. 

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    On 12/7/2021 at 11:22 PM, redsimon said:

    I would love to play a realm with the Germanic faith. I know that the earliest starting date is in the 12th century though, so it doesn't make any sense. I still hope you will include a (much) earlier starting date, if not in the initial release then perhaps in a possible expansion.

    I too hope they add expansions in the future 

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    7 hours ago, CroatianKnight said:

      I do like the flavours pagans get! However I am not sure about it spreading by itself.. I mean I can see it happen but it feels more suiting for heresy, especially spreading over borders. Paganism spreading like that would make more sense if there are more pagan faiths so it happens between them as some gods would be similar.

      However considering the year of early start date it makes no sense to add different pagan faiths at all as paganism was already on decline. And it would make it too complex for KoHII and weird because there is no Judaism, Coptic nor Zoroastrianism. 

    Considering the map, maybe paganism could be split into two branches: a "Nordic" or "Eurasian" one, and an "African" one. The first could mix Norse, Romuva (I think that was Lithuania's religion before they converted to catholicism) and Tengri (Mongolian) faiths, the second one could represent the fetishist realms of Africa. I think that would be cool and add even more depth, while keeping things simple. Actually, current paganism reflects the "Eurasian" non christian or muslim faiths. If the devs like this idea, and if they have time and resources to spare, things may evolve this way... or another! :-)

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    Nice to see some more diversity. The more the better.
    What about the release date, can you share more info on that front? Steam says "coming soon".
    Is it really or someone just forgot to inform Steam about the ACTUAL release date (which no one seems to know when is it)?
    Thanks.

    Edited by Nikola
    typo
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    On 12/11/2021 at 6:28 PM, Calliope said:

    Considering the map, maybe paganism could be split into two branches: a "Nordic" or "Eurasian" one, and an "African" one. The first could mix Norse, Romuva (I think that was Lithuania's religion before they converted to catholicism) and Tengri (Mongolian) faiths, the second one could represent the fetishist realms of Africa. I think that would be cool and add even more depth, while keeping things simple. Actually, current paganism reflects the "Eurasian" non christian or muslim faiths. If the devs like this idea, and if they have time and resources to spare, things may evolve this way... or another! :-)

    That sounds nice 

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    i am littel bit  dissepoint way game develepers not put 5 religion of islam

     

     

    Five Pillars of Islam

    Muslims follow five basic pillars that are essential to their faith. These include:

    • Shahada: to declare one’s faith in God and belief in Muhammad
    • Salat: to pray five times a day (at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening)
    • Zakat: to give to those in need
    • Sawm: to fast during Ramadan
    • Hajj: to make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during a person’s lifetime if the person is able
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    On 12/11/2021 at 6:28 PM, Calliope said:

    Considering the map, maybe paganism could be split into two branches: a "Nordic" or "Eurasian" one, and an "African" one. The first could mix Norse, Romuva (I think that was Lithuania's religion before they converted to catholicism) and Tengri (Mongolian) faiths, the second one could represent the fetishist realms of Africa. I think that would be cool and add even more depth, while keeping things simple. Actually, current paganism reflects the "Eurasian" non christian or muslim faiths. If the devs like this idea, and if they have time and resources to spare, things may evolve this way... or another! 🙂

    I agree that paganism would surely deserve some diversity.

    OTOH, I don't think you really need to create African paganism for this game and its time period.

    If the game includes "only" the Sahara and the northernmost parts of the Sahel (I have seen that the southern edge includes Kanem), it means that all the African areas included on the map would be Christian or Muslim (or Jewish) by 1086. As for Sahelian states, Takrur converted to Islam in cca 1030's, Ghana-Wagadu in 1076, Gao-Kawkaw/Songhay in 1083 and Kanem in 1086.

    Nubia and Ethiopia were predominantly Christian, and the remaining pagans in the parts of Africa on KoH2 map were either ruled or under strong influence of Islam

    Edited by Elvain
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    Some pretty amazing points were touched in this thread - I hope the dev team will take them into consideration 🤞

    One point that came to my mind: are the festivities going to be celebrated, for instance Christmas, Ramadan or sacrifices to the Sun God for pegans (for example)? 

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    „…almost the entirety of the world looks down on [Pagan kingdoms], which has its effect on diplomacy.“

    …surely, this would be mitigated by power? 


    ____

    It is nice to imagine also for a very powerful kingdom to force some of their pagan rites onto a rival of any religion which the clerics of the opposition would hate, but would aid diplomacy and public opinion of said kingdom. 

     

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