Statecraft game mechanics, change logs and lore.

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    Here game explanations, progress and backgrounds can be placed.


    Here’s a collection of everything i dropped on Statecraft in the discord. This It’ll keep me accountable 🙂

    Warning it’s a chat transcript so formatting and grammar can and will be funky.

    game concept
    A king is powerful but to some extent confined to his throne room like a bee queen
    entrusting capable men with power and responsibility.

    That social dynamic is well explained in a book I’ve read many times called Machiavelli’s “the prince” which is what finally pushed me to build this game. It is not a daunting book and it is fairly explicit as far as power politics goes.. a must read id say since it is the soul of StateCraft.

    [snip] You can’t just mindlessly click your way to success..yes the mechanics are simple (yes/no answers to all queries) since the game gives you hints on who is valuable and who is not. It engages the player actively to reflect and analyze.

    The big difference with Crusader Kings 2 is that in CK you micro manage your army and troops. Also courtiers are present and can be assigned roles but I would have enjoyed more emphasis on courtship. In StateCraft however, you are confined to your throne room, greatly putting the emphasis in surrounding yourself with the right courtiers and being cautious as of who your are nurturing .

    The true magic is when the game corners you into acting a certain way to secure what could appear to be the immediate solution for your problems as a suzerain. The intended mechanics is not far from a card game where you have to juggle with what is proposed to you while keeping a close eye on the 10 ish ressources that makes you a dead king or not.

    currently your kingdom has the current stats to maintain:
    -army (offensive soldier since population is the levy)
    -defenses (structural defenses)
    -diplomacy (over all diplomatic image) not to confuse with relations with your 4 neighbors
    -personal protection (state of your personal guard and close protection of your familly)

    On queens and brides

    lot of trash brides out there yes
    But the provenance is where you can predict their ability to govern with you
    a merchant (especially your courtiers) will spend years accumulating gold just to give it back to you in order for you to mary their daughters
    Queens will be able to act as any of the 5 vocations which includes rogue
    the trick with the queen is that she looks at the status of the realm before acting
    then act upon a situation
    Normal courtiers simply dont have that situation awarness mainly due to their position
    It is a very fun mesh (cluster fuck) or social and power interaction

    The game is admittedly male dominant however the queen is the most important character in the game (like chess) so it is primordial to secure a decent queen.

    In the new version I want the queen to be able to spend time with a courtier in order to give you her appraisal of him/her. This is all nice and dandy however if your queen sucks she may give you the wrong info and worst upset the courtier if he is of a certain status (Seniority is the main status denomination.

    On courtiers

    we get in the core mechanics but here it is
    there is 5 classes of ‘courtiers’
    -knights (high risk high reward npcs (since they can die) deal with attacks war and raids and patrols everything military)
    -shcolars (low risk low reward sure shot npcs deal with laws and diplomacy)
    -Merchants/Bankers (truly the best money makers in the game but have the tendencies to make money with money)
    – Rangers (eyes and ears of your realm.. when bad stuff happens to you or an act of intrigue has been comitted usually they can help, they also deal with bandits and explore your land (find new mines and such)
    – finally rogues (allow you to ‘cheat’ and do intrigue for a great cost to your diplomacy and church and potentially morale of your courtier if caught.. can also do low scale activity such as attacking trade routes
    all of these courtier come to you and suggest course of action to you
    depending on their skills they succeed or not impacting your stats and your overall power in the realm
    they die, get sick, have personal issues, dont like each others, maneuver for better power ect..
    that is currently in the proof of concept
    and working although the older version was class specific so a bounty hunter would only bounty hunt.. now all the martial trades have been regrouped under ‘knights’ and each individual can perform a wide variety of actions.

    you can have a courtier that has 50% skill and these guys are the hardest, he will go on a stretch of success but then come forward with an high risk high reward action and quite naturally you will conceded, spend the gold and take the risk. At this point he will fail and as a player it’ll be hard to trust him again
    courtiers with 0% (quite a crazy absolute but they are out there.. pretty much usurpators claiming to be something they are not, gravitating around the court) are easy to deal with. They will never show up for work :smiley: as competent courtiers always seek work (you first cue actually to know if a courtier is trustable with important matters)

    This is where Statecraft shine and evolve the urb factor. I find most of our crowd to be scary smart so I added a mechanic where the player, over time can deduce how competent is a courtier. So the luck factor is there but the player use his wits to anticipate probabilities.
    it’s like a political game of poker really where the cards effects unviel themselves 3 to 8 turns later

    On rogue courtiers

    Rogues are pretty cool, they get targets from their informants and ask you if they can act on them. So far they can kill agitators (if you have low popularity in your realm), foreign diplomats (if you prestige is low) or priests (if your church level is low)
    killing foreign nobles or king will be a cost action.

    It gets pretty nasty when you assassinate within your lands absolutely.
    Mechanics wise its formidable because the difficulty ramps up.

    On forgiving or punishing a courtier that has failed you

    On the mechanics of forgiving or discourse a courtier that has failed. In the previous versions this had a little effect but in the new one the reaction to failure must be wisely considered. Offending a high achiever can be detrimental (lower loyalty) and discoursing a less competent courtier can motivate him to get better. Forgiving a high achiever is usually the best way to go but if you forgive a low achiever he will assume weakness in your character and is maybe more likely take advantage of you in the future.

    Either action you are doing the game makes a skill roll and if the skill roll is successful then the courtier view himself as a high achiever
    So if you have a courtier that has 75% skill which is a fairly good rate and you discourse him.. he only has 25% to take the blame and better himself

    On courtiers salary

    On salaries:

    A courtier works for you at a certain amount of gold per year (4 seasons) this amount is usually 1 gold per year. Now if a courtier is extremely competent, he is likely to ask for more gold eventually. To the point that very competent courtiers know their value and will become expensive over the year. A good king will identify these individuals and offer them titles in order to retain them in their court for ‘free’ by granting them lands.

    Lands carry on with the family if he has a hier. Can you see how the game gets complicated tho?
    When you have a noble that dies and stuff gets passed on, maybe his son is incompetent? Now you have to deal with an idiot that manages 20% of your kingdom. 🙂

    On peasants

    Dealing with peasants is more of an important deal in the new state craft, more than often you have to balance the affairs of the state versus their demands. Population morale becomes at this point more of a currency that you closely monitor while balancing between accumulating it or spending it.

    The difference between prestige and diplomacy

    Prestige is a value that goes up and down depending on how you conduct yourself as a king at the realm level. Being caught using subterfuge and intrigue will reduce this value amongst other things. It’s you reputation.

    Diplomacy is a value that represent the state of affairs with a particular state.
    Now that I’m doing the basic AI the nature of their actions will be based upon you diplomacy score with them. The extent of their actions will be determined by your prestige.

    On other states and conquest

    Picture statecraft as you being france west is spain east is holy roman empire north england and south italy/byzantine
    so theres only 4 other factions
    identified by their cardinal location, I just assumed really they would be on the same religion
    for some time anyways.

    It is the beauty of it. You want to grow organically and not push boundaries that is the safest play, however that also means the other kingdoms grow. You want to grow more dynamically then you weaken your neighbors opening the door for the external threats. The realm as it is, have a fragile balance, the difficulty emerge from player’s ambitions.

    On barbarians

    I haven’t defined the specific mechanics about these. They are conceptual exterior threats that will be harsher to deal with on the military and diplomatic level.

    They will be more into raiding you and asking for tributes and such which is what your neighbors are dealing with and protecting you from to some extent when you start. It’ll be feasible to go in total war with them and hurt them enough so they back off for a period of time. But maintaining a decent army is costly.

    On church

    The church of Gygax is the only church

    I like the idea of a central, established and overly ambitious and perfid church.

    the church has its own entity in this game and pretty much act like the pope in our own medieval time, using faith to push his own agenda
    it is a very powerful entity (can assign Templars (pretty much medieval jedis) to your court if they like you) but they can also excommunicate you and start crusades against you. During inquisition they roam in your land burning folks and stuff and even sometime claim that one of your courtiers is an heretic.

    The pope is a very generous friend but he is high maintenance
    and the pope tend forgive less than kings ironically enough.

    Random quotes about the game I dropped

    – You build the empire .. your hiers and the nobles you groomed will take care of destroying it.
    – The game saves exactly after you answered a query. So reloading to get a different result will simply take you to the moment after you answered.
    – Random events are predetermined in advance, so reloading in order to get good random events will produce the same events regardless.
    – The game is a long run. You can keep playing until you dynasty last. You will at one point lose, just like mnb2. Branching a dynasty generates a lot of frustration for the claimants of the throne (brother, cousins, nobles nominated by your fathers (your last character)). This combined that the nobles nominated will die and their dynasty will take over their estate, which doesn’t guarantee the same level of competence initially secured by giving a title to a super competent courtier.
    – There is no ribbons but the will to create throne room decorations based on feats yu accomplish in game is there. If you win territory over a war you get shield and swords to put on your wall. ect..
    – @Fireiy yes yes and yes. So basically every slice of say 100 population gives you a rank. Every time you get promoted you can give a title to a courtier (which gives him land and that slice of population) that individual will work for free now and you have secured yourself a competent individual. This man will now work on his own and report to you every seasons with his management of the land you gave him. Upon further population increase from your part you can give that individual more title (now lord to baron) or give a title to another courtier you judge competent enough.
    – There is few losing scenarios. Dying is one without a heir. Running out of gold by the end of winter. Running out f population (territory).
    – Most of my general direction as far as mechanics goes is roughly based on the machiavelli book the prince.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by urbzz.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by urbzz.

    A few questions:

    Is the time passage constant throughout encounters – one day passes for each encounter, for instance? Can there be multiple encounters on the same day?

    Is Machiavelli always available as your counselor on every new game?
    Is he a 100% trustworthy mentor figure, or is he himself also a player in the scheme of things?

    Do NPCs age and die or retire?


    This is the old version 0.2 that can be played by “testers”.
    The new version (see Discord channel “Statecraft) will be much more elaborate and balanced.
    urbzz talked mostly there about the game since traffic here is sometimes zilch.
    The channel is quiet right now so reading up on what is going to go down, maybe, may be the best way to get the most recent information.

    To your questions. Time goes by by seasons. At the moment I forgot on how many times you call in court per season but it is something like each month worth so 3 times before the season changes.
    Assigned tasks can take multiple seasons before completed.

    Do NPCs age and die or retire?

    Yes, everyone ages in the game. Your hirelings can die in many ways including conflicts (only knights), sickness, accidents, assassination by your assassin and sorts of old age right now.
    In the next patch there will be even more ways for them to fall out of your service.
    Retiring; more like quitting your services if you do not fulfill their wishes over a longer
    Or you simply let their contract time end without lengthening it.
    The is the option to “give them the boot” but that never worked so far in game. Is borked.


    Bit more up to date game lore by urb over at the Discord.

    The current system that is sort of new in this iteration works in a comparable manner. Servants come to you and offer their services on a random basis. They can be from one of the 5 castes:
    Merchants (which deals with markets and gold)
    Knights (which are -very- useful during open war and moderatly during time of peace)
    Scholars (which deal with diplomacylaw making and engineering)
    Rogues (which are masters at intrigue. A high risk High reward avenue) and finally,
    Rangers (who deal with defenses, investigation and exploring)
    All their actions are skill driven. The amount of time they seek work and how successful they are, is determined by a 100% roll every seasons. The core game loop of statecraft is that as a king you have to be able to guess who is competent and who is not. And this very quickly. Because comeptant individuals will demand more money over time and will become irritated very quick if you do not approve them.
    The mechanics in order to make this a fun game are the following: A courtier seeks you permission to accomplish a task. You then say yes or no. the reasons to say yes or no can be various, either you deem this individual not good enough for the task and the damage of a potential failure is too risky for you. OR you simply can afford such an actions. Either in time, troops, gold or diplomacy.
    If you say yes a skill check is done and the courtier comes back to report. Now 2 things can happen. Either he/she succeeds or fail. And here note that a courtier that has a 75% skill (which is fairly high and be considered as a competent individual) can fail from time to time. As a king it is important that you forgive the competant people and disapproving the idiots. At first it can be hard since the courtier has not been on many tasks before and task failure or success is truly your only way to find out.

    In case he is successful nothing much is done on your part. You can approve his success or disapprove it. NOW if he is unsuccessful this is where you need to think. You can forgive him or not. When you forgive a failure the courtier makes a skill check. if he passes it, it means that the individual views himself as worthy of that forgiveness and thanks he can do better. If the courtier fails his skill check then he views himself as not up to the task but yet granted leniency by his lord. Which at this point if any of you have read Machiavelli’s works is a mark of weakness from a king. The incompetent Courtier that has been forgiven will start to view tyou as a weak king and increase his disloyalty slightly

    So let’s go the other way now
    If you elect to reprimand the individual then things are different.
    A competent courtier will not be pleased by the reprimand and would have expected a more graceful treatment. His respect for you will decrease slightly. If an incompetent courtier is reprimanded then he will get his act together and since he is fully aware of his lack of seriousness being noticed by the king. He will then increase his skill by 1 to 3%
    So by being a good judge of character you can groom incompetent courtiers to become respectable. And by being a a jerk antagonize your elite until they take you off the throne. Such as real life.
    Or also by being too soft you open the door for the less than desirable individual to move against you by lack of fear that you will be unable to eitherr be aware fot heir machinations or respond in any stern fashion.

    All the courtiers in your court are of higher standings
    it is that just some of them are less than competent. As we all know by know that bloodlines have little to do with competency.
    Statecraft lore is minimal right now.
    Now that the game loop is established let’s take a look on how this turns the game into a time bomb of urbness.
    If it were for only courtier this is fine. But here comes the royalty. These guys that somehow are part fo your court but you can’t fire them and also think they are to some extent previous to your respect.
    The Queen, is a special npc and like chest she moves in all direction. It is the most powerful npc of the game, that is if shhe is cometant. If you tool the gold of a rich merchant and married his daughter.. you risk to have a lower quality queen since that poor girl had no idea what ruling a country was 2 weeks ago
    As far as competency the queen works just as nay other NPCs described above on the leniency algorythm. a less than cometant queen will seek to imporve upon being reprimendanded or will maneuver agaisnt you out of undeserved foirgiveness.
    This is not too bad because a queen is manageable. Same goes for your Sons and first genrations nobles.

    Chances of Hiers and beauty and also skill at diplopmacy is all related to the ‘one’ skill
    Although as a king you may indulge intyo extra marital activities in case you seek additional heirs or fun. This however might not fly if your queen is skilled. She will realise what is going on and will not tolerate it.
    Sleeping out with other women while having a powerful queen seems to be detrimental as history teached us.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by Lance. Reason: more content

    More info from Urb on Discord:

    There are no battles in Statecraft. It is throne room centric and the focus is on governing. Battles, RTS stuff is micro management left to be done by your knights.

    [The queen] can basically act as any of the 5 castes.
    So in war the queen can lead an army.
    It’s pretty cool, if you are willing to risk her.

    The church of Gygax is its own non territorial entity. With its own goals. They own the templars which are the ‘Jedis’ of that setting.

    You start with just you. And apparently a distant uncle that will rise later in end game. But that is why it makes the game initially manageable, because you aren’t dealing with Royalty as much.
    As you have your first noble (that you will appoint yourself) this guy is likely to be very competent (you chose him after all), however the beauty is nobility is passed down his blood line. So his son might not be as good. And you will have to deal with with a less than ideal baron (if you are unlucky, his son might be good in fact).
    And you will have to deal with that lineage while it is in fact in command of a portion of your realm.

    I have changed the map setting in Statecraft. The map is no more. which means the other kingdoms can be visualized just like other NPCs with side arrows. This can lead to a more dynamically changing world where a rebellious state can rise and nations can also disappear.
    Or his kindom’s fragment and now you face 4 other minor nation.

    I’ve coded the children your king may have. Here’s how the mechanics will work.
    Kids are mostly useless up to the age of 6.
    After that they will come to you and ask permission to do certain activities. These activities are directly related to a vocation. For example hanging at the garrison is related to your kid showing interest into becoming a knight.
    This will be as such until they are adults (14).
    The activity they will be doing the most will dictate what they will become.
    This means that if your kid wants to hit the library but you want him to become a knight, you will have at this point to deny him going to the library. Which hit his morale.
    But at least you’ll get a knight out of him. (Possibly though, he still needs to want to go to the garrisson and you to concede.)
    So the smart ones amongst you are probably saying: but what if your kid doesn’t want to do anything (low skill) or hits all the places equally (potential lack of guidance from you)?
    What happens when he hits 14? Does he get a vocation randomly assigned? The answer is no. Your kid will simply become royality. Which in itself is a vocation but usually reserved to the royal family (mom, uncles, step fathers and brothers/sisters).
    The royalty vocation is not a very active one and affects the realm minimally – unless they are highly incompetent or highly skilled. Which at this point should be granted titles by you in order to capitalize. But that is an entirely diff story.

    Your son will act as a knight/scholar/ranger/rogue/merchant and work for free until he either gets granted ranks by you or you die and he becomes the king.
    Or also until he dies either on the job or of unfortunate circumstances.
    The pope will ask for one of your sons to join the templars, but you do not decide.
    Also, assassination is an option. Or simply attrition (send son to crusades and raids repetitively).



    The way mistresses are coded right now is that they show up to your court and want to spend time with you.
    If you have a queen a morale hit is done if you say yes.
    Depending on the ‘quality’ of the mistress (everyone in StateCraft has one skill called Competency) then she may give birth to a child.
    Either a girl or a boy.
    Currently if it is a girl you will not hear about it. however if it is a boy she will visit after 3 seasons and tell you that in 14 years this boy will show up tot your court as a legitimate heir.
    It is upon you to accept him or not.
    Currently the oldest son’s takes over the crown. So you have time to figure out if this bastard is worth keeping, especially if he is your oldest.
    All the other child in your court will take a loyalty hit if you welcome the bastard in.
    If you refuse him, he has a chance (competency check) to become a villain later on in the game and raise an army or even leave with a chunk of your kingdom..

    Rebellious royalty hasn’t been coded but they will be treated as a political entity which can take a chunk of your realm.
    This is what I meant.

    Now as far as princesses go, I did not put thought into it yet.
    I do like the mini queen effect or even a completely new array of action that is just for princesses which mostly is based on diplomacy and a tad of intrigue.
    You should be able to arrange marriage and receive a decent amount of gold as well and substantial amount of loyalty if you don’t ask for gold.

    You could marry your daughter to external kingdoms or even within yours to ranked individuals that you have promoted.

    You can also marry your daughter to a very skilled courtier in order to make him become royalty.
    As I explained earlier Royalty is a vocation (job) in Statecraft that is attributed to anyone that is within your immediate family.
    The cool part is that you don’t technically pay them for them to stick around and they hold not titles/significant land.
    When you start the game there is no royalty in your court.
    But has you play Royalty will accumulate.
    Their actions are unique in a sense that beside in time of war you cannot task them.
    Rather they come to you and say ‘i did this’.
    However for royalty to accomplish something good or bad they need 3 rolls to be either successful or failed.
    This translate into you only will hear about Royalty if they are extremely good or extremely bad.
    All this to say that if you have a very competent knight, you might want to make him royalty by marring him with one of your daughter in order to stop paying him.
    Although he will stop acting as a knight you can still capitalize from his high competency as a royal.


    some random facts:
    – Knights that fail their actions have a chance to die (due to the martial nature of their vocation) that is what knights actions are paying well compared to other courtiers (beside rogues which is high risk high rewards)
    – Ennobling a Templar that has been assigned to your court will piss off the Pope greatly.
    But Templar are high skill (50+/100 guaranteed) individuals.

    asked this;
    So the Templar are under the direct control of the Pope in SC?

    Or do they act on their own like how IRL Templars did until they were all excommunicated & burned at the stake?

    In SC are the Templars & Pope the same or are they separate groups you can interact with?

    urb ;
    Thanks for asking.
    the lore is not wiki level yet but in a nut shell it deviates slightly from the IRL and borrows from star wars a lil.
    Templars are pretty much the praetorian guard of the pope in SC. Although a very big organisation very few makes it to actual Templar but can be part of the organisation.
    If that makes sense.
    In any case the individuals that you are dealing with in SC are full Templars which are men of very high qualities and reliability.
    eing given a title is something you cant refuse in SC.
    It is by the hand of the king an act of Gygax. Which equals the Pope in term of holy calling.
    A Templar if given a title will cease his service to the Pope and resign is vow of monk life in order to become a loyal and dedicated Vassal.


    Is this game out yet?

    Sounds good to me.


    for an old reg you sure ask the most NOT to ask question around here LOL
    But just to be polite, NO. 🙂
    There is an old (secret) alpha that a few of us tested but this version has absolutely nothing in common anymore and sadly nobody has played it so far.
    So we are all “hanging on tight” as is right now…..


    One thing that is not clear to me; what is a season?
    Is it every time the book opens on you on it’s own (from what I saw every 4 visits.)?
    The game could use some simple counter telling you which season is it now.
    Also, in case of courtiers coming in to report success or failure of a task, does it matter what answer you give?
    I will work on an icon that display the season.
    yes it does
    forgiving an incompetent courtier is weak and will instigate disloyalty.
    forgiving a competent courtier is also important because they know their value.
    disapproving an incompetent courtier that failed you will make him/her seek to improve him/herself since he/she got called on his/her bs.
    disapproving a competent courtier will antagonize him/her
    it is hard in early game to know what kind of individual you deal with so you have to act prudent.
    But once yo have ran the kingdom for few seasons with the same courtier you know who are your rock stars are.


    A few updates from the closed alpha to keep track of development and to show folks that things are moving on.

    –patch 0.5
    — basic intro and game over screens
    — your progress is now saved until you die
    — fixed cost to ranger blocking path event
    — increased chances of courtiers coming to your throne room by 30%
    — church will now be giving advantages when having good relations with the player (debug feature was preventing this)
    — trade value /10 in taxes every seasons
    — changed the start values so its less cake but added starter immunity so the game doesn’t attack the player’s face right away
    — rangers that fail hunts will not make you lose soldiers anymore
    — fixed enable/unable typos
    — fixed the foreign nobles messing up the tavern event no referencing to a proper kingdom (event #162)
    — fixed the health crash
    — fixed n occurrence that the name of a courtier wasn’t displayed properly when killed in the crusades
    — Knights, due to the dangerous nature of their vocation, can die on the job now. A meta balance to the free squire input.
    — gold will be deducted properly for assassination now.
    — fixed an event where a poacher being killed by a ranger would not reduce crime (event #114)
    — fixed event where gypsies are pushed in by an other province. stats are not affected appropriately (event #335)
    — if the queen is busy she will not be appearing
    — added proper introduction to the knight patrol request (#17)
    — changed the tax system where now the trade score is rolled 10 times and every wins give a gold per season.
    — added a normalization of the values so the numbers don’t get too crazy (aka -13 loyalty)


    Feels like this would go great with stwalt gameplay.



    A bit more progress to report on

    When you take a province it becomes a vassal and you have to appoint one of your courtier to it.
    He will then run the province for you. Pay taxes to you and adopt your emblem.
    You can then assign more lords within that province or yours with the title system
    Assigning lords to a province that is ruled by one of your courtier (in this case a vassal) will annoy the vassal slightly but will keep him in check in case of troubled times.
    Usually troubled times means when the suzerain (you) dies.
    All the vassal states will have to pass a loyalty check modified by the competency of your heir in order to see if they don’t declare independence.

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