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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.