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Sunday, November 08, 2015

Modern Times mod for Crusader Kings 2 - Congress of Vienna release

Cowboy cat by Infomastern from flickr (CC-SA)

Here's new release of Modern Times mod for Crusader Kings 2 (Steam WorkshopDirect download).

There are two major and a lot of minor features.

Congress of Vienna 1815 bookmark

One big feature is expanding timeline by a few years to Congress of Vienna, which doesn't change much in Europe, but moves India back to times when it was divided between Mughals, Marathas, and British Empire - all marked as interesting characters in the bookmark.

This new date also subtly hints at what might be coming to the mod in the future.

There are no special colonial mechanics yet. In real history Britain got half of India in one quick war, but actually giving them this ability feels ridiculously overpowered. For that matter India was never really part of Britain, it was a patchwork of local rulers under something between tributary and vassal relationship, mixed with some lands directly administered by appointed viceroys.

So for interest of gameplay, whoever wins India will probably need to take a slower route - unless you're able to find some creative exploits to speed things up. Or if you just want your name all over India, a few tributary wars will do that as well.

Peace of Westphalia

The second major feature is properly setting up religious conflict in Western Europe. You already know Catholics from vanilla, so let's introduce the other two branches.

Protestants are now a Catholic heresy with separate religious head for each national church. Priests can marry obviously, but due to game limitations we can't have women priests late game without also allowing them in 19th century where they would be just too silly. As Protestant ruler, you can establish Ecumenical Primate in Rome as global religious head in addition to national primates if you happen to capture Rome and you're pious enough.

Reformed are another Catholic heresy, and don't get any religious head, but get +4 stewardship bonus which you might find quite tempting.

Protestant and Reformed have access to regular holy wars, but not to crusades.

In spite of being heresies, all three religions are in state of truce since Peace of Westphalia, so they can't declare holy wars or crusades against each other and are forced to fight using lesser CBs. However, as an independent ruler of any of these three religions, if you have very high prestige, and your branch's moral authority is at 100%, you can officially and irreversibly renounce Peace of Westphalia and the silly concept of "cuius regio, eius religio", plunging Europe into new era of religious warfare.

It shouldn't be overly difficult to get 100% moral authority as good Catholic, especially if you help the pope win a crusade against Ottomans or two. On Protestant side, the easiest way is establishing pious enough Ecumenical Primate in Rome in addition to taking Jerusalem in a holy war. On Reformed side, it's most difficult, as you start with no holy sites under your control, and no possible religious head, but I'm sure you can think of something.

Not to mention that you can renounce peace of Westphalia, and then change sides...

AI can also use this feature, but I would be surprised if it managed to fulfil the requirements without player's help.

Because Protestant and Reformed are marked as Catholic heresies, a lot of Sons of Abraham and Way of Life decisions and events will create tensions between these branches and lead to characters changing sides. Don't be surprised if your heir turns out a heretic, or returns to Catholicism, complicating your plans.

Historical start changes

Historical start will never be perfect, but here's some improvements in the new release:
  • Ottoman start at ever increasing decadence as bookmarks go, it will take urgent effort to deal with it, especially in late bookmarks.
  • 1945-1991 West Germany downgraded from empire to kingdom. If you want to be empire, you need to unity with the other part of Germany.
  • Mediatized rulers of Bavaria, Saxony, Mecklenburg, Baden, and Wurttemberg in German Empire (1871-1918) get historical monarchs.
  • A lot more historical rulers and various fixes to the database. There's still a large number of countries with automatically generated rulers, but they're a shrinking minority, and mostly less important countries.
  • All historical rulers should now have accurate birth and death times, except for a few where even wikipedia doesn't know
  • Finland and Poland under Russia are vassal kings with local culture and religion for gameplay reasons (with automatically generated rulers)
  • A few tiny border tweaks in partitioned Poland - Prussia loses one county to Russia, and one to Austria-Hungary, so they're under 50% de jure Poland (historical border cut through both counties)
  • Minor culture/religion tweaks in Ukraine area. The mod probably should just introduce a few extra cultures like it did with extra religions (Protestant/Reformed). Especially Ukrainian and Tartar.
  • A few minor tweaks to which provinces should have cities vs castles as capital holding - that means a few extra merchant republics to play as, and Tuscany being a feudal duchy not a pointless inland republic.

Other changes

  • Indian characters have 80% chance of belonging to the right caste, and 10% of belonging to each of two other cards.
  • Automatically generated vassals ages and terms randomized instead of everybody starting at age of 35 and ruling for exactly 15 years
One more note - for Europe we generally have good historical data, and we know which of 5 gavelkinded Anhalts had which villages and on which day it changed hands in a peace deal - the problem is mostly mismatch between historical borders and CK2 province shapes.

For India, available information is of much lower quality, with multiple sources drawing borders differently, and various rulers gradually becoming British vassals often without clear dates in the process. So expanding mod to the past beyond 1818's British victory in Third Maratha War quite inevitably results in a lot of rather dubious historical setup.

On the other hand, how much does it matter if borders are off by a duchy here and there if ten years into the game it will be a total border gore either way? :-p But seriously, bad borders should be reported as bugs.

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