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Monday, October 19, 2015

Crusader Kings 2 minimods I've been using

Coy Taz 2 by DirtBikeDBA (Mike) from flickr (CC-NC-ND)

I mod pretty much all games I play. Some of the mods I publish on Steam Workshop or on this blog, but mostly they're for my campaigns.

The main problem with publishing them is that CK2 architecture makes it fairly difficult to run large number of small mods - there's a number of files which are responsible for pretty much everything (like religions.txt or landed_titles.txt  or defines.lua) and two mods trying to do seemingly unrelated changes which just happens to affect same files will likely conflict, and game won't even inform you of it.

I use mod builder to bundle all these minimods into a single one to avoid such issues. Without it, you probably won't be able to easily choose and mix minimods you want.

Then again, a lot of minimods would work just fine standalone, so if there's anything you find interesting here, just ask and I might publish it too.

This isn't a coherent mod like Fun and Balance for EU4, just a loose collection of tweaks. I used to have a collection for CK2+ as well, but that was many versions ago.

Other people's minimods

I found a lot of nice mod written by other people. Currently I use these from Steam Workshop:
  • Anime Portraits - I thought I'd run this for lulz, and I'm not terribly weeaboo or anything, but it's some amazing quality work and it makes the game looks so much better
  • Blue Duke - new portrait frames are dreadful UI, especially in how difficult it is to tell counts from dukes. This mod makes duke frames blue, and solves this problem completely.
  • DLC music for every culture - in game music gets boring after a while, so that increases the pool a bit. Often I end up turning off game music and using external music player instead anyway.
I randomly stumbled upon these mods as well, you need to download them from github:
  • Invitation Traits - it gives people (do nothing) traits showing if they'd accept your invitation or not. It's a hack, but it makes UI so much nicer.
  • Heir Traits - it gives people (do nothing) traits showing if they're heir to some title. Huge UI improvement.
  • Show Council - adds action which target's council, commanders, and other key figures. I spent so much time trying to find people's spymaster with game UI, it's huge pain in the ass. This is a huge time saver.
  • Notify on Adulthood - notifies you when someone comes of age. This is probably the most useful of them all. Getting notification when someone becomes of age, and can be married without their regent preventing such arrangements, or allowing your spies to reach them more easily now they're not tutored somewhere inaccessible, or knowing when a duchess reaches age when you can seduce her so your bastards can inherit her lands. It's a huge win. One thing it doesn't do is notifications a few weeks before adulthood, which would be nice for last minute guard swap tricks.
  • (there are two more minimods there but I didn't need them)

Minimods I published

A few minimods I already published:
  • Suez Canal - adds Suez Canal to the game, making areas like India, Ethiopia, and so on actually relevant
  • No Localized Ranks - uses consistent English names for all ranks instead of all the "walis", "exarchs", and "rajas". Game really should have option to turn this crap off.
  • No Localized Landed Titles - uses English title names, so it's "Denmark", not ridiculous nonsense like "Danmark". Game really should have option to turn this crap off as well.
  • No Dynastic Names - uses country names based on titles, not dynasty names. So It's "Persia", not "Abbasids". Another thing which should be in game settings.
And I've been playing with Modern Times mod which brings Crusader Kings to 1818-2015 timeframe, but that's hardly a "minimod".

Extra decisions

I wrote a bunch of extra decisions, mostly to setup the kind of campaign I wanted, they're not balanced or anything. Generally I make them player only, as writing sensible AI code would just be a lot of extra testing work.

Here's a quick list:
  • Become Republic - if you're male feudal ruler with coastal capital, it allows you to become a merchant republic. I used it in Republic of London campaign.
  • Switch to spouse dynasty - Crusader Kings is supposed to be about playing as family, but game actually wants you to play as family name, which I don't like much - and for that it introduces a lot of silly mechanics like matrilineal marriages. It would make much more sense if you just wanted what's best for your children, and who cares whose name they'll carry. I used it in Matilda of Tuscany campaign. This allows you to continue playing without game over as woman in regular marriage.
  • Make marriage regular / make marriage matrilineal - some hacks to change marriage type. There's some glitch that makes it trigger royal aid duty sometimes. For use when you want to play as your family, but your heir married wrong way.
  • Educate close kin - I just like educating all my kids myself, so  I made a mod that allows educating all dynasty members regardless of 2 limit. To be honest I probably don't need this and I could just as well send my daughters and extra sons to vassals for education, but I got used to it.
  • Banish traitor - you can banish imprisoned vassal traitors seizing all their lands and money, and people are OK with it. This probably goes too far into easy mode territory, but current situation is just silly (can't seize money, can't banish, can't execute, can only take one title, and often cant' take any titles as truce blocks revocations), with traitors risking pretty much nothing as they'll just claimant faction whoever you give their title to and get it back in zero time, and then you have vassal who hates you forever. I might come up with something more balanced someday.

User Interface mods

Crusader Kings 2 desperately needs a support for bigger monitors. All UI elements are ridiculously tiny, like when you want to give away titles after successful crusade, you have 100 titles and you need to use dialog box which displays 5 lines at a time, in random, even though it could easily fix 20+ if it expanded to fit the screen.

I didn't do any UI modding before, but one thing that got on my nerves more than anything else was that bar with active wars. I often have 20+ wars (like when reestablishing tributary relations on succession, game really requires starting wars in big batches) and it's impossible to see anything once you're past 5 or so.

So I wrote a mod that makes war icons box much larger. Well 3x as big if numbers I put there are to be believed, and it's amazing.

I wish someone just did a full big monitor overhault. If not, I'll probably fix a few more dialogs that annoy me particularly much.

Disable diplomatic interaction range. OK, this is not strictly UI only change, but it's infuriating to search characters only to be told you can't interact with them. They added this limit without making necessary UI adjustments to make it work. I've never seen any problems caused by this.

Mark decisions as high priority sensibly. In EU4 you can choose which decisions you want to be notified about in game UI. In CK2 that's hardcoded by "is_high_prio" flag. Which would be acceptable, unfortunately is_high_prio flag is really dumb, and asks you stupid decisions nobody ever wants like "conscript merchant ships" or "ask help to manage titles", but won't tell you that it's finally the month to have a feast, summer fair, or grand hunt. I made all decisions which are specific to peace time or particular month or Jews as high priority.

100% hereditary "Hunie" trait. This actually used to do something, but now I just add it in ruler designer (or via console). It's a 100% hereditary trait which does absolutely nothing except telling me which people are descendants of my original character, no matter which culture or dynasty names they end up with. Combos with seduction focus a lot (that's why the name).

Really disable fucking hints. There's option in game to disable hints. There are hints (mostly one at campaign start) that are explicitly set to ignore this flag. Seriously, what the fuck where they thinking? When player has explicitly chosen to disable all hints, maybe take a hint and stop showing hints?

Show all CBs in diplomatic map mode. Game decided that you don't want to know when you can tributary CB someone. I very much want to know that, as that's my favourite CB, so I want it displayed too.

Don't call dukes "kings" ever. A duke is a duke. Mercia is not a kingdom. It's modern silliness to call all such petty rulers "kings".

AI Changes

Make AI always reject ultimatum by claimant, elective succession, overthrow, and antiking factions - it is absolutely infuriating where you install a claimant, he starts at 0 troops (because he only got 1 demesne which has new administration, and no vassals will give him any due to short reign), so first tiny faction shows up, and your claimant folds to two dukes in a faction within week of getting the title because 2000 troops to 0 seems to him like a huge ratio.

Of course that ratio is bullshit as it ignored any allies and money, and the fact that if he waited a bit he'd get those troops, and vast majority of the time if he fought he'd have won - and often you can help him make sure that he does. And if he lost, so what? Worst case is what you'd get by clicking accept blackmail button.

I feel this is a huge improvement, as you can actually meaningfully press claims in foreign nations. In vanilla there's really no point to press anybody's claims except your vassals.

I made AI stop creating extra empires ever once it has one empire title. There is absolutely never any reason to do it.

This one change surprisingly has more impact than everything else put together. Made AI always prefer high tax and levy laws. Since Great Vassal Levy Nerf you absolutely and without exception should have high feudal taxes, as you'll be relying on (now a lot more expensive) mercs/retinue and your demesne troops. Non-Muslim AI in vanilla is hardcoded to go for zero feudal tax, which is ridiculous and it's according to a bunch of AI games the main reasons why Muslims are so OP - they just so happen to not do this dumb shit.

Making AI actually go for high taxes and levies makes AI realms way more powerful, without touching came mechanics in any way, just ai_will_do blocks.

Made AI stop joining elective succession faction unless it's Germanic. AI just loves this faction, and I've seen elective Byzantine Empire one too many times. Historically it was Germanic silliness, and it really doesn't belong in rest of Europe. Rulers can still pass such laws if they want, but AI won't join elective faction unless it makes sense for their culture.

Disabled overthrow khan faction, made nomads join independence factions instead. Hordes are totally OP, and big part of it is that they never have any internal problems whatsoever. Even if you weaken a horde the worst thing it can get is new khan. Not any more, now it can - and will - fall apart without strong khan to hold it. It doesn't come close to making hordes not OP, but now you have some tools to deal with it.

Easier title creation. Some titles have rules preventing AI of wrong culture from creating them. This just means that AI ruling over whole de jure kingdom will stubbornly remain a duke. Weirdly in case of Hungary it applies to player too, so if you holy war all of Hungary you can't recreate it as vassal kingdom in any way. Most of such restrictions are removed. (the must-be-republic restrictions remain)

Vassal Limit

I seriously hate this feature. Penalties are ridiculously severe (your tax and levies go down to zero for going just a few over limit), and you often have very little control over it - rebellions and gavelkind all count against your limit.

When you're playing as king you can transfer counts under dukes whichever way you want, most of the time (it seems to be blocked by vassal wars and rebellions, but sometimes it just gets blocked for no obvious reason).

Unfortunately in addition to all the other problems with the system, you can't transfer vassal dukes under vassal kings unless they're fully de jure under them - and due to usual vassal border gore that blocks even very reasonable transfers.

This is really infuriating, so I just added a bunch of decisions to allow me do so. For every vassal kingdom your vassal duchy borders, you can use "Transfer vassal under kingdom of X" decision, which works just like the usual feature, with opinion bonuses and so on.

Due to coding issues, it only works for already existing kingdom titles (it's technically completely separate decision for every kingdom title in landed_titles.txt), but it's fairly rare to have vassal with custom kingdom, and hacks to make it with custom kingdoms are probably not worth it.

In the end I increased vassal limit to much higher numbers, especially for emperors (25, 40, 50, 100 for duke, double-duke, king, emperor). Reasonable alternative would be to keep it where it was but reduce penalties drastically, in addition to not counting rebels and giving you more options, but I find this to be totally unfun mechanic, so I prefer to just get it out of my way.


Gavelkind demesne size bonus is way too small to compensate for bugs you'll be getting, and it's rounded down before all bonuses are applied so off "30%" the game claims you'll get you rarely see half of that (3+2=5 becomes 3*1.3+2=5.9, rounded down to 5, so much for your bonus). I just increased it to 50% to make it slightly less miserable.

Allow any number of vassal republics and theocracies. 10% limit is totally ridiculous. There were times when making every vassal a republic or a bishop was a legit strategy, but that hasn't been the case for ages, and 10% is way too low to have the mix of different types of holdings that was typical of feudal Europe - instead game ends up with feudal monoculture. Vanilla HRE for example - hardly a theocracy abuse case - starts already over 10% theocracy limit.

Reduced wrong government type tax/levy penalty from -75% to -50%. In the past there were cases where you needed to hold wrong holding type for fairly long time, and it would be nice if it wasn't totally useless drain on your demesne limit. To be fair, it's been a while since I last ran into this problem, and recent patch made a lot of such holdings (such as republics holding castles, feudal lords holding same culture tribes etc.) suffer from no penalty whatsoever, so I'm not sure it's needed, but then again, I don't see much reason to increase that penalty to vanilla level.

Faster de jure drift - 100 years is ridiculously slow. In theory it would be reasonable to wait a bit if requirement was just that title is vassal under you for 100 years or 51% controlled, but given typical levels of border gore it's close to impossible to control 100% of any kingdom for 100 years, and in typical vanilla campaign the only drift that ever happens is duchy of Latium to Papacy.

I reduced times to 50 years for duchy to kingdom (as fully controlling duchy is reasonable), and kingdom to empire to 20 years (by the time you control every last county your empire was probably dominant power there for generations).

I'm somewhat tempted to just throw drift completely and make de jure changes happen by decisions which you can (and AI would do too) use by spending some prestige and gold, just like creating custom kingdoms/empires (which already de jure changes in zero time).

Preserve cultural buildings. Vanilla automatically destroys all cultural buildings if ruler is wrong culture, which nerfs parts of the game which is already too weak. For example if you inherit some title from one Dutch vassal and German emperor, you don't even have a chance to give it to another Dutch vassal - it will get autodestroyed in a day before you have a change.

It's all just dumb, so I allow constructing buildings based on either province or ruler culture, and never get autodestroyed. Now in theory you could go through 20 cultures and build ridiculous number of buildings in your capital, but if you want to do so, sure, have fun.

Removed -30 foreign conqueror penalty. This is a silly thing they did to make Anglo-Saxons hate their Norman conquerors until everybody becomes English and happy about it. Unfortunately it really screws up rest of the world, where you can't have mixing cultures, so your vassals of wrong culture will keep hating you 200 years down the line or not, depending on how you got to get the realm. Holy War? Totally awesome. Claimant Faction (like Bohemian faction for HRE)? Hated forever by everyone in the realm. Of course the easiest way is to just get rid of vassals of wrong culture on first opportunity, and be done with it. It's also the only way, unless you're specifically England.

You still get the usual foreigner, wrong religion etc. penalties. This just removes this extra silly one. It would be reasonable if it only affected people who were conquered, and had a timeout like 20 years, but it last until end of the game and affects people twenty generations down the line.

Removed divine blood fertality penalty. For Holy Xwedodah!

Increase republic trade post limit by about 3x. Trade posts are what makes merchant republic merchant republics, and while they used to be overpowered, retinues and mercs got nerfed so much that republics are now a total pushover.

Allow trade post seizing plot in merchant republics with fewer restrictions - you think doges would not plot against patricians? This might be a bit too powerful, but vanilla blocking this completely is just silly.

Norde reinforcement speed reduced to normal speed. This means nomads when they get wrecked stay wrecked for a few years instead of miraculously recovering in zero time. This goes a good deal towards balancing nomads.

More flexibility

Allow free heir designation to everyone. This fits what feudal system was like better. Eventually things settled on primogeniture, but originally kings could designate whichever son they wanted to inherit different part of their lands.

Allow all religions to intermarry. This doesn't remove claimant invitation penalty, as that's separate (and not moddable as far as I can tell). Hindus won't marry you anyway as you have no caste, but everyone else will if they like you enough. Weird stuff happens occasionally as side effect, but rarely, and in any case weird stuff is what this game is about. I'd prefer to keep "must not marry infidel" but as modest penalty, not total ban. Unfortunately that's not moddable.

Allow all religions to seduce. If you're going to sin anyway, what do you care she's an infidel?

Allow unreformed pagans to go feudal. Requiring reformation is fine for player, but there's no way in hell AI can be expected to do that on its own.

Allow true cognatic succession for all cultures. It's really for roleplaying, it is mostly downside compared with agnatic-cognatic, and AI doesn't know when to make marriage regular vs matrilineal so level of weird things happening will increase drastically if you press this button.

Give everybody river access. People have been using rivers this way since forever. It also makes Central Asia somewhat more relevant.

Allow most minor decisions while at war. Feasts, summer fairs, pilgrimages etc. can now happen also when you're at war. It's silly that some peasant rabble in periphery of your realm should stop you from having a feast. The problem is that game treats even very petty squabbles as "wars", while only major ones should block such decisions.

Allow joining (almost) all wars of characters of your religion. What could be more fun than supporting rebels trying to overthrow a king you don't like? It also makes religious wars more intense as you can no longer use de jure wars to prevent other nations of same religion from joining enemy side. This is one of the best changes i've made.

Ruler designer reset. All traits free. It's up to your roleplaying choices to create characters you want.

Other changes

Kingdom of Italy is de jure HRE. CK2 de jure map is generally silly, with all kinds of imaginary de jure realms (Wendish Empire) and relations (Croatia de jure Byzantium, well...). This one on the other hand, is the most factual de jure statement of all - if "de jure" means anything, kingdom of Italy is de jure HRE. As a bonus this removes the eyeblight of one-kingdom "empire of Italia" from the map, as Venice and Sicily as de jure Byzantine Empire (which actually makes some historical sense). With 2 Roman empires already in the game, the idea of having separate teensy "Italia" is just painful.

Made culture conversion event not require neighbouring province of same culture. It still happens, just much more slowly, with discontinous territory.

Interested in any of that?

As you can see, these minimods are too disconnected to turn into one mod, it would take a lot of work to publish them all, and without mod builder to resolve conflicts a lot of these minimods wouldn't work together. But if you're interested in any of these mods, just message me, and I might publish it on Steam Workshop or elsewhere.

Code for all of them is on github, but probably not in the form which would be terribly useful.

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