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  1. Knights of Honor II: Sovereign - Judicates Dev Diary #2 : The Mediterranean keystone Hello everyone, and welcome to the second development diary of Judicates. I hope you're doing well ! Please, take a seat : today, we're going to focus on a specific region that always had a great importance. First of all, this very diary is coming several months after the previous one, and I apologize for that, because that was not my initial plan. Reflexions, other map making works and IRL issues slowed down this project, although I made some progress. By that time, the official developpers of the game published their own diaries, with a better regularity, and I have to admit I could not read it all. However, the explanation of several game mechanics was highly useful. Even though it has been said the players will have a wide freedom and proper tools in order to make their own mods with ease, remember that Judicates aims at melting into the core game and using the same game mechanics, at least when it comes out. Obviously, this is a map expanding mod before all. Still, if it becomes a concrete sandbox for all types of players, I'm all ears with the addition of new mechanics, or the reshape of basic ones, should modders want to collaborate and freely share their ideas. The rule is simple : you can take my ideas, I can take yours ! If sharing is the motto, then anyone can help anyone. You might ask : I know nothing about modding, what if I can't help in any way ? And I'll answer : Any help of yours will always be welcome and appreciated, don't underestimate that. It could be historical infos and sources in a language I can't understand or do not master, as well as your own thoughts on the project, like your thinking about its balance, the relevance of one of its elements, or even a single encouragement. In a house made of bricks, there is no insignificant one, not even the smallest ones. So, as I said above, I made progress on the map, though not as fast as I wanted to, yet I made it. The region I wished to present to you, back in Spring, is still on works, and gave me a hard time deciding which towns, which settlements, which frontiers, which rivers should be represented, how to connect the roads and how to enhance the terrain to make it realistic, pleasant and playable. To this day, there are still a lot of enigmas around it, but I hope I'll be able to finish it and publish it during the next months. Consequently, I worked on other parts of the map, especially on another region I know a bit more, and it paid off well. I encountered almost no problem on it, and went to a fine result, flexible enough to represent its geographical, political and cultural varieties, which played a major role in this territory's identity. Thereby, without further delay, I am proud to show you which is this jewel jealously coveted by foreigners, often times invaded, rarely conquered : here is the Mediterranean keystone, Sicily ! The island shares some similarities with Sardinia, since it was conquered by the Berbers and the Arabs over the Romans too. However, there grew an emirate that lasted for a couple of centuries, quite autonomous from North Africa (where came the invasion), as well as prosperous, to the point of letting some Arabic influence in certain words of Sicilian language. This is under their reign the capital was moved from Syracuse to Palermo, more suitable for a western power, but the Romans never renounced to reconquer the island, and tried several times to retake it many years after they completely lost it. Then, the Normans appeared in south Italy during the eleventh century, and after seizing there a large amount of land for themselves, they conquered Sicily in one generation, even faster than did its previous masters. Though the proper term of crusade did not exist yet, it looks like this one saw its beta test succeed (!). On the first start date, which is set in the early twelfth century, the player choosing to begin here will rule over a quite steady and unified realm owned by Roger II, Count of Sicily, a unique character leaving then his childhood and on the brink of becoming one of the most famous rulers of its time. Concretely, the twenty-three provinces of Sicily (of which Malta) offer a formidable base, with perhaps the best average rank of settlements per province of all the map. However, it will be in your hands to satisfy the barons, or crush them if needed to, as well as control the rest of your internal factions. Should you stabilize your realm, you may, as Roger did historically, invade other places, such as Africa, or wage war to inherit the south continental part of Italy. Foreign rulers, both muslims and christians, will observe you with a strange eye, since the area was very multicultural until the mid 1200's. It may be in your best interest to leave it as it is, and shape your traditions by keeping in mind the benefits that can bring you tolerance of your subjects belonging to the two religions (and I really hope such a system already exists ingame). After all, most of its inhabitants were muslims until mass conversions and expulsions, which occurred under the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II (with whom will open the second start date). At last, on the third start date, Sicily is under the control of the distant kingdom of Aragon, and plays no longer a center of power of its own (though a cunning and disloyal player may want to gain its own independence). Since Sicily has been set as it is, I went back to Sardinia and polished it to better shape its traditional territories, adding there a few provinces, towns and settlements (which will better represent its political and cultural situations on each start date). In my mind, an area's average number of settlements represents its development and its potential wealth. Though there is a great difference between the current poorest region to the richest one, it's up to the player to survive and expand its realm the way he can or he want, depending on his situation. I would like to speak about start dates again : on the previous development diary, I explained I aimed at following the same dates available in the core game. However, due to the complexity of History, I wish to add a few ones, if it is ever possible. I am currently thinking about a start date in the late XIIIth century, which, in Sicily, would represent the Angevine dominion and the risk of a massive rebellion, like during the Sicilian Vespers. Also, an earlier start date, set in the eleventh century, which would preferably cover the Norman conquest of Sicily, would be very interesting, for both sides (Normans and Sicilian Arabs). These are only ideas for the moment, as it would imply to choose perfect and interesting dates for most realms on this large map. Another option would be to create scenarios focused on a single region, and set on a specific single start date, to cover a famous historical event, or a reknowned character . But yet again, these are potential ideas, which, remember, can be taken by anyone. So be free to take and share ! Here is the end for today. I hope you enjoyed reading this diary, it's been a pleasure for me to write it. I should come back with a third one sooner this time, expanding the map with a new place worthy of interest. Until then, please, take care.
  2. Hello, dear devs, dear community, I have a question concerning conquest and culture. Forgive me if someone has already asked the same question, and if so, gallantly refer or transfer me to the according thread, thank you. Will it be possible to conquer cities, even lands, without imposing my home culture and religion on them? From reading the according Dev Diary this wasn't clear to me. In history, there have always been both approaches: A) The Wipe It's what Macchiavelli suggests in "The Prince", i.e., forcing everyone to adopt "my" religion and other core cultural assets, that's what Isabella and Alfonso (among others) did during and after the "Reconquista". B) The Inclusion It's what (among others) the muslims did successfully for centuries in Spain: allowing people to keep their religion and other core cultural assets, as long as they remained loyal to the sovereign, paying taxes, sending troops when asked for, etc. Both approaches surely had (and have) their pros and cons, and that should be reflected by the game mechanics - could you elaborate on that in a more detailed Dev Diary about conquest, please? To me this is a crucial aspect of the game. I do hope for variety in the crucial aspect of conquest (and reconquista). What do you honourable developers plan? What do you gallant supporters think?
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