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Massive post, sorry. Basically covers all the issues and ideas I had to make Franz and Gelt more interesting.
Diplomacy with other Empire factions, specifically elector related ones, still does not have the option to join war or create alliances.
This seems like an oversight as you can’t: - Appeal to your fellow elector factions to assist you in a war, nor can you gain diplomatic points and gold with them by joining their wars via diplomacy. - Can’t forge alliances thus not being able to replenish in their land, use war coordination, build outposts, do ally missions, or any other benefits an alliance offers.
Why this matters? There’s new factions and a ton more threats to the Empires electors. Without someway to replenish in their territory outside of encampment stance you’re artificially handicapped compared to other factions. Either with a weaker army or slower movement speed. It disincentivizes actually reviving these factions or returning their settlements, as you’re not just economically worse off but militarily as well.
You ironically have an easier campaign just ignoring all the elector factions that die and just keep their lands once you take them from their captors. It’s only advantageous to resurrect electors in a single minor settlement for the Imperial Authority then get that settlement and their legendary lord (only specific electors) when you finally confederate them, otherwise you take their capital region for early the elector slot.
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Solution via fealty level, for example: - Join War: Always available. The faction should always appreciate you coming to their aid or be able to be convinced to help another faction. - Fealty 1-3: Risk of them trying to break away from Empire. The lower the fealty the higher the chance to trigger the Elector Declares Independence dilemma. - Fealty 4-5: No change. Relationship stabilised. - Fealty 6-7: Can form a defensive alliance, provided you have the diplomatic favour with that elector. Defensive alliance unlocks unit replenish in their lands, war coordination, outposts, and ally missions. Ally missions for Empire could be unique in that they also give fealty to that faction when competed. - Fealty 8-9: Can form military alliances, provides associated bonuses. Still requires enough diplomatic favour. - Fealty 10: Can vassalize. Unlocks that regions state troops, provided that elector faction controls the required elector slot and you have an outpost in that region. Can confederate with Imperial Authority, even if vassalized.
This gives an incentive to actually keep them alive. This would also indirectly buff spending prestige to improve your relationship with electors, not only for the increases in fealty but getting them allied with you.
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Improve The Elector Counts Themselves: - Make them more unique. Give them some interesting starting traits, slightly better stats, or unique ability unlocks. Give them unique models and unit cards. They don’t need to be as good as true legendary lords but they shouldn’t be named generic characters. Maybe even start them with their unique runefangs, and just alter the loot tables. - Give Boris Todbringer the legendary lord treatment. Make him a playable character as an alternative to Franz and Gelt. This is already half done as he’s already legendary lord in the Call of the Beastmen DLC and considered a bonus legendary lord in IE.
This also makes it more rewarding to keep them alive as you’d get a better character after you confederate them. You could also add a diplomatic penalty if you hold their elector slot without confederating them first, which disincentives taking their region instead of returning it after an enemy takes it.
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More War Support For The Electors, Such As Buffing The Attack Elector's State Mission:
The trigger for this mission should be expanded to include any faction that attacks. Not only does this give more opportunities to save an elector state, but also puts more pressure on the player by being overwhelmed with requests to defend their electors. Which is quite thematic for the Empire. Do you choose to stop Festus’ expansion or focus on early economic growth?
There should also be a unique version when two elector counts go to war and you fail to stop the war with the dilemma. You could then have the option to declare war on the attacker when choosing either Send Force or Hire Mercenaries, choosing Send Scouts or Do Nothing would give -1 fealty for the defending elector. After which would trigger the return settlement dilemma, if the attacker managed to take it of course. On the flipside, I would probably add a prestige cost to returning the settlement as it gives you a point of authority (even if it's not listed).
Also, the option of Scouting needs some kind of buff. I think something similar to the Spy Guild, but only temporarily, it should give a 20% reduction on hero actions in that region for 5 turns. If it’s an elector attacking it could give +1 fealty for the attacker and declaring war on the defender, though with an added prestige cost. The reasoning for the latter is you’re helping them explore the terrain prior to the battle.
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More Dilemmas: - 10% extra research for X amount of gold or prestige, lasts X amount of turns. To slightly speed up the remaining research in the tree. - Gold reward for spending prestige or a point of authority, maybe at the cost of a fealty point. Not available after confederation. Basically you're forcing them to pay for The Empires wars. - Recruitment of unit or heroes discount for prestige or authority. - A 10 fealty or confederated elector appeals to the remaining electors, which would increase another electors fealty by +1 for prestige or gold. - A fealty 10 elector offers a gift. Can accept small amount of gold, spend prestige to get a random follower, or spend prestige to get a random common item. - Bonus diplomatic favour with other order factions for prestige. Similar to what you can do with electors already but rarer and more expensive. - Gold bribe and +1 fealty with an elector at the cost of losing diplomatic favour with other order factions. Prestige option for no gold, +1 fealty, and no diplomatic penalty.
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Slow Down The Imperial Authority Death Spiral:
I’d like 0 to start with no negatives and no positives, could call it stabilised. Make a new -1 with -5 growth, this is now stagnating. Then shift everything else down by 1 point. So declining is -3, fading is -5, crumbling is -8, and calamitous is -11. This makes the death spiral slightly slower and also indirectly buffs the early game as you’re no longer immediately suffering a growth penalty.
I know the most recent patch reduces the authority lost when electors die for the first time, but I still think starting with a negative modifier should be removed.
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More passive ways to earn prestige: - Like Chivalry for Bretonnia there should be a way to earn it from characters. Either linked to particular traits, or available once they reach a certain level milestone. Say for example a legendary lord hitting level 10 would give +10 prestige every turn, a generic lord gives +10 prestige at level 15, and a regular character could require level 20 to give +10.
- Another option is maintaining an electors fealty at level 10, which could give another incentive to keep them alive. I would also put the passive prestige at +10 per turn.
The former isn’t entirely needed, I’m just brainstorming. The latter would be nice though. Much like the other suggestions it’s incentive to keep those electors alive and defend the Empire.
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Speaking Of Prestige, End Game Prestige Event:
The prestige event that gives Imperial Authority, Spy Guild, Trade Guild, or do nothing should be expanded to be purchased multiple times. You should be allowed to eventually get both guilds, and then only have the Imperial Authority option remain available as a way to get more once you confederate everyone just in case. It would also speed up the late game to get any remaining electors confederated.
Also the spy guild vision bonus seems to be bugged and A Guilded Opportunity seems to have been removed/bugged and won't trigger.
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More Positive Levels of Imperial Authority:
+1 Imperial Authority "Rising": Same as it is now.
+5 Imperial Authority "Prosperous": +5 growth, +2 control, +7.5% income from buildings, +7.5% chance of bonus fealty.
+10 Imperial Authority "Absolute": +8 growth, +5 leadership, +4 control, +10% income from buildings, +10% chance of bonus fealty.
These buffs essentially mirror the worst modifiers of Fading and Crumbling but are harder to reach. This would go well with the above suggested repeating late game dilemma "A Guilded Opportunity" to dump excess prestige to get increased levels of authority.
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Add Other Empire Factions To Early Game Diplomacy:
Enable diplomacy at the start of the game with The Cult of Sigma and The Huntsmarshal’s Expedition when playing as Franz or Gelt, and vice-versa.
Volkmar also seems to be bugged as you can’t confederate him.
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All in all, the ideas here is to make diplomacy and the elector system more engaging. As well as more rewarding.