Dev Diary #29: Even the Smallest Decision
Come one, come all, and hear the tale of Kalevi of Karelia. We’ll follow him on the perilous road from High Chieftain of a few counties to King and defender of Ukko as a Holy Warrior! We will pay close attention to what choices he makes to further his agenda, for what is life but the decisions you make along the way?
Surprise surprise, in this dev diary we will take a closer look at Decisions: what they are and how they work. The easy way to describe a Decision is that they are an action a ruler can take, but they end up being so much more than that over the course of a game! By the way, name’s Linnéa, Content Designer!
We’ve focused on adding a wide spread of Decisions in the game so that you will have unique experiences playing different characters all over the map.
Above, two examples of what the decision view might look like for different characters
There are two types of Decisions: Major Decisions and… well, Decisions. Major Decisions are displayed in a prominent position at the top of the interface and can be viewed as something to work towards, if you want; we have designed them to give the player a rewarding goal – a kind of mission. Major Decisions are often life-changing and their effects will be felt throughout the world; you can make decisions that affect your whole dynasty, or a whole religion. Examples of Major Decisions are “Found a New Kingdom”, “Consecrate Bloodline” and, of course, “Mend the Great Schism”.
Regular Decisions, on the other hand, can function as a means to reach those lofty goals and are often more accessible and more immediately relevant to your everyday life as a ruler. Decisions cover a wide range of actions you can take, everything from “Host Feast” to “Flagellate”. This gives you a lot of control over what actions your character takes and how you shape your realm.
So, back to Kalevi of Karelia. Our story begins just as the young High Chieftain Kalevi, only 16 years of age, has stepped into the role of a ruler after his father’s passing. Orthodoxy is spreading upward from the south, Catholicism is a growing concern in the west, and Kalevi wants nothing more than to protect the old ways and the Suomenusko faith he was brought up with. It might seem like a big task for any lone man, but he has a plan! He intends to raise a Hall of Heroes and lay the foundations for Holy Warriors to defend the faith.
The road ahead might seem long and taxing, but such is the way of life when your goal is as lofty as this.
He does currently stand alone at the rudder, however, and he wishes for a companion – a spouse. As luck would have it he stumbles across a skillful and beautiful peasant woman when he is out hunting!
Together they start a new family, and the first Decision among many has been made.
One of the requirements to fortify a Holy Site, by taking the Major Decision “Defenders of Ukko”, is to have a Holy Site to fortify. After a quick glance at the Suomenusko Holy Sites, Kalevi’s gaze settles on Raivola in Kakisalmi, currently under the control of his neighbor Chieftain Susi. Susi believes in the right Gods, but Kalevi doubts he would allow other people access to the Holy Site… War it is, then.
To tip the scales in his favor, Kalevi decides to send out heralds to let it be known that he is searching for Champions to join him. Soon he has bolstered his forces enough to take on his neighbor.
After the war Kalevi is perplexed… He has a Holy Site under his control, and he has the will; why won’t the people help him build the Hall of Heroes? Why won’t they help him defend the true faith? Then it hits him: he doesn’t have enough strong people backing him, and he is not known to be pious enough to inspire the respect needed. This realization sets Kalevi down a path of many years of character-building, in the form of pious endeavors, and realm-building, in the form of conquest and vassalization, until he has founded his own Kingdom.
As his realm stabilizes he realizes what must follow; he needs to go on a pilgrimage to truly understand the Suomenusko faith.
However, during his pilgrimage Kalevi is grievously wounded! Word is sent out that the court is looking for a physician, and soon enough his wounds have been tended, but the scars will forever mar him.
Gaining traits, like Wounded, might spur you to make a Decision you otherwise wouldn’t, and Decisions can also become available through traits, events, and a myriad of other changing conditions in the game. If you find a Decision particularly interesting you can mark it as important and you will then get an alert when the conditions are met and you can take the Decision!
For Kalevi a lot of time has passed. Finally, at the tender age of 60 and a life full of decisions small and great behind him, King Kalevi of Karelia finds the support needed to fortify a Holy Site and bolster the defense of Suomenusko.
Who knows what will follow for Kalevi; maybe he’ll Found a New Empire to stabilize the region further, or perhaps he’ll Adopt Feudal Ways in a bid to – at long last – attempt to develop the region in a new direction. But one thing is for certain: the threat of Christianity has done nothing but grow during all these years…
Thank you for reading and see you next week!