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Updated: 24/09/2013With thanks and credits for additional ideas to Sturmstorm, Chuck, Anthony7411, TheToobHoob, Mackles, Rjacko10, as well as everyone who has PM'ed me over the last few days to voice their support. Thanks to you all.
Additional suggested sections added in red text
I've got a rather in depth proposal for a change to the family/politic system that would lead to both more interesting and fun gameplay, as well as better, more realistic, and much more interesting civil wars than the current 'spawn rebels at capital' scenario.
Proposed change: Families rebel, rather than spawning rebels.
Basically, if you have the three families A,B and C, when family C rebels, all armies controlled by generals from family C rebel, all navies controlled by an admiral from family C rebels, all provinces controlled by Family C rebels. The same for family A and B, obviously depending on who you are playing.
This would require three changes to the politics system;
1: A proper family tree for each of the three families, with political/army/naval appointments for each family member.
2: Governors for all completed provinces, selected from a pool of candidates from the three families.
3: A system for family loyalty, generals in your family stay loyal, Family B/C rebels and the third family can join the war on either side depending on it's prior treatment by each family.
The major new system would be the Governorship of completed provinces. Similar to edicts, whenever you complete an entire province you would have the option of selecting a Governor to run it. You would have the same screen we have now for selecting generals/admirals, with unattached family members and statesmen from the three families eligible for being governor of a province. Each Governor, depending on his stats, would give different bonuses for each province (corruption gives you -5% tax income, builder gives you -10% build time, that sort of thing) as well as a loyalty rating to each faction. Governors could then be bribed to different families, assassinated, charged for corruption by the senate, that sort of thing.
In the background to this, would be the family tree. Each family putting forward it's children for prominent roles, starting at 20 for army/navy and starting at 30 for governors (after ten years military service). This would give us more time with each general/governor, as well as telling more of a story. The successful general returning from the war front after a successful campaign to retire and become the Governor of the territory he conquered as a young man, coming back out of retirement at 60 to lead the troops once more during the civil wars and save his families position in Rome. That sort of story just can't be told in the current incarnation of TW:Rome2.
It's also important to have the family trees back for when we are making appointments. If you are unlucky, couple of generals die before having children, no one to adopt, you could easily be in the position where each general, admiral and governor is from another family, the few your family has desperately holding on until their children come of age as you hope nothing goes wrong until you can cement your family line once again. Again, another story the current system can't tell, and imperative to any sort of meaningful campaign where you can chart the rise and fall of your family and empire through the ages. Importantly, it would also affect the civil wars when you have to give out appointments to other families because there isn't anyone suitable in your own!
Finally, the civil war would start by the head of an enemy family declaring war on your family. Every province controlled by a Governor would split loyalty depending on which family the Governor owns his loyalty to (now the bribes come into play) leading to the empire fracturing across the map, rather than having one super powerful province in the heart of the empire. Every admiral does a loyalty check to their family, the same as every general. Now you have a civil war over multiple fronts, multiple provinces, between all three families, not just one super powerful 'rebel' group.
When you make alliances with a marriage to a faction (maybe just the major ones, or with any that becomes powerful) marrying into the family produces a heir and when he comes to power, there could be the possibility to claim the rights to the throne. Or to support the current kingdom if he agrees to certain terms or conditions (renewing trade, alliances, or whatever). As the succeeding generations agree to certain agreements you can get super diplomatic relations with certain factions, and/if/when the faction decides to stab you in the back, you would feel...... well....... and the actions you take would....well.... Or maybe this kingdom could even decide that through your cultural buildings, proximity or/and power that they give you the 'throne' and then the faction becomes a regional Roman Governance (buildings become roman and people as well without any (or too many)negative effects on buildings or populace, maybe even taking the AI's complete army) When Nations fell the Armies worked for the Vanquished Simple Fact (and no they where not all killed) (well not always).
And to develop on the generals or Governor idea why can you not give Regions/Provinces to Generals as was the practice in those days.. North Africa, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Middle East
What would also be great is if you could use a Champion, a Dignitary or a Spy to educate your child, giving him extra abilities depending on who his teacher was, Champion = Zeal, Dignitary = Authority and Spy = Cunning. The Agent would be consumed by the usage, and it would only be usable on children under the age of 18 which is when they should mature and 'spawn' on the campaign map, see above sections detailing family tree changes.
Direct lineal family members hate their ancestors murderers, with an option of creating hatred between them with some sort of "blood oath" option when the parent is involved in a conflict with a faction.
One further idea I've had, regarding the Tradition system for armies.
Currently, if an army is wiped out, losing it's standards in dishonour and with it's general dead on the field, you simply buy a new army with the same experience, same stat boosts, the only difference is the name of the new general (because, really, they're facelss) and the fact some of your new troops will have slightly less experience (chevrons) and possibly worse armour/weapons, depending on the province you recruit from.
Shouldn't we have a system where if you wipe out an army, completely, you capture their 'standards' (eagles in the case of Imperial Rome: eg. Teutoberg forest) and until either;
a: You defeat the army carrying your standard
b: You defeat the warlord/warchief who has your standard at a home city
you no longer get the benefit from all of the old traditions when recreating an army. Instead, surely, they should get something like;
Cursed by the Gods: This army has previously been dishonoured by losing it's standards and being utterly defeated by the enemy. -10% morale for all soldiers until their standards are returned.
You could keep a certain amount of traditions, say three traditions at level 1, and no upgrades or extra traditions can be regained until either you regain the standards or win enough good sized battles with the new Legion in order to wipe out the stain on their honour. Say win 5 heroic victories where at least 1000 soldiers are involved.
Capturing an enemy armies standards you could do 2 things with them, either;
a: have them carried by the general/army who took them. +10% morale for that army when facing enemies of the faction you have taken a standard from.
b: display them at your capitol city, where you get a province wide happiness buff similar to an edict or high level building (say +5 per turn) as well as a small gold bonus per turn for displaying it, say +10-20 per turn.
What about an elections feature? Whereby the army commander or provincial governor is voted for by the Senate/Council of Elders and Nobles/etc, with candidates from the player and other families. The player can have a look at the candidates with an assessment of which way things will swing, and can attempt to influence the result through certain actions, with appropriate penalties. This could include that if you don't use rival faction generals/governors to their potential (i.e. to a similar level you use generals/governors from your own family) then your power to recruit your own family members in the future diminishes due to reduced senate/elder (etc) support. Therefore you'll have an empire full of rival faction characters anyway.
Some potential issues:
Would provincial governor's be a mandatory mechanic?
If yes, what would happen if you have no one eligible to assign to a province?
On conquered provinces with another culture you could have it so a local chieftain or leader is recruited, they would come under the 'other families' pool. They become neutral during the civil war, remain neutral if the civil war ends in a peace and become a 'other family faction', and re-ally themselves with whoever controls Rome(insert original capitol city here) if the civil war ends with a win.
Easy to exploit via promoting your own family only to armies, or disbanding enemy family armies before a civil war starts.
If you're consciously avoiding creating armies controlled by enemy families because of the looming civil war, then arguably it's already having a significant effect on your campaign. The disbanding option is easily solved, you get new event card pop up saying "looming civil war", makes it so armies/navies under enemy family control cannot be disbanded, nor can you disband units under their control.
The army spawn mechanic isn't necessarily a truly bad mechanic, it's simply implemented awfully. If you wanted to keep the option of disbanding rival controlled Legions, you could still have those enemy stacks spawn, just spawn them at their controlled provinces under the control of already existing rival family members, rather than around your capitol controlled by random and unknown leaders.
What sort of diplomatic options would be available during the peace negotiations following a revolt?
Would everything just suddenly end and return to normal as if nothing happened? No, rival factions should become new fully blown 'factions' like they were in the original Rome if they fight you to a standstill or a compromise.
Would you have the option to imprison/execute the leader of the revolt:
Obviously, with a risk of new revolts and new leaders springing up if the rival leader still has family member heirs alive.
Would all armies of the revolting family be assimilated into your family and commanded by a member of your family? Would it disband if you don't have a family member eligible to assume the role, or would it remain under opposing family control?
Depends on the result. If at peace, see above, they remain their own faction. If you conquer them, you have the option to put them to death or imprison them and elect either your own family members or promote new leaders from your existing loyal legions and then adopt them into your family.
Would your family gain control of the rebel provinces? If yes, What if you don't have a family member to assume control of the provinces you have won.
If peace see above, if conquered see above for promoting local leaders.
Would the rebelling family essentially be a non-factor for the remainder of your campaign? They would become a whole new faction if you reach a peace compromise. What if the third family remains on your side during the revolt? Would the revolting families assets be split between your family and your allies? If so, how?
It all depends on which family owns which army/navy/province. The split would be according to which family member is in control.
What would happen if you lose against a rebellion?
Would it be game over just as it is with the current system? No chance for your family to make a comeback?
Three end states:
1: You lose all your settlements - game over.
2: You lose all your male family members - game over.
3: You get beaten down until you become a protectorate - you can become the rebel at a later date as in the normal game.
1.) If you can create new neutral "Other Families" every time you conquer a province outside of Italy that will not ally with your rival families I still don't see the need to assign any provinces to your rival families, ensuring they do not gain any power, while also ensuring you will never have to deal with a revolt consisting of more than one province.
The way I'm interpreting your suggestion (correct me if I'm wrong) is that during a revolt every neutral "Other Family" province becomes its own faction and assists neither the defender, or attacker? If that is the case, just keep creating neutral provinces outside of Italy whenever you don't have an eligible family member, and at worst only one province will revolt at a time.
Another easily solvable issue, you put a check in for electing governers/army/navy leaders where you MUST use a family members (from any of the three factions) before you can elect a neutral. If you do elect a neutral, the other two main families has the ability to replace them with one of their own for the cost of a few senators. This system would match what is (nearl) already in game.
This type of system also brings in other issues as well: What happens to your finances, trade agreements, food, etc. if half your empire becomes many individual factions?
You keep the income from your home provinces, and your faction, the rebel faction, and the neutral faction split all income/food from the neutral provinces 33%/33%/33% to represent the ongoing internal Roman trade partnerships. See below regarding the 'numerous factions' idea.
Also, from a realism standpoint it doesn't make sense. The neutral factions would in essence also be revolting against their ruler by not contributing to his wars, and would also be subject to punishment should their ruler be victorious.
My understanding from my reading of the civil wars was that when Caesar and Pompey went to war, the majority of the senate refused to pick a side, sat back in their own personal holdings and waited to see who was the victor, especially during the later civil wars between Octavian and the remnants of the Pompeian Optimates. My proposal wasn't to have lot's of mini factions spring up, but as we already have in the politics screen an 'other families' tab, those other neutrals would do precisely that, remain neutral until either on overall winner is declared, or if neither faction of the civil war controls Rome the neutral faction would become Rome and the two civil war factions would become small independents, who would then have to reconquer what they had lost during the wars.
I'm much more knowledgeable about the Sullan civil wars, where Gaius Marius and Lucius Sulla both had to petition multiple families for support. Marius had to use freed slave and gladiatorial armies twice due to the neutrality of the majority of the senate, who would vote along with whoever had control of Rome, and Sullas Legions were so incensed by their masters treatment they stoned to death several neutral senatorial emissaries.
What these historical civil wars show us, is that two major families would (mostly, not all the Julians sided with Marius for example) go to war led by the most influential man in the house, and the other senators of Rome would vote for whoever was closest to their own central Italian holdings at the time.
So, in game, we would have:
Family #3 with loyalty to either you or the rebels.
Neutral families who would all be one faction.
2.) I still feel that it would be easy to ensure that only your family controls the military. If you control 100% of the armies, why should you have to worry about revolt?
If you are suggesting that random armies are formed in the revolting territory, I would have to assume that they would not be anywhere near the caliber of your professional armies that have been trained and battle-hardened through years of experience, and instead be armies consisting of peasants, farmers, and mercenaries from within the revolting provinces. In which case, you would easily be able to crush the revolt.
I am definitely not in favor of large well-trained, well-equipped rebel armies randomly spawning.
If this situation ever occurred, I would suggest that the game check for ex-consuls who have been leaders from the rebeling family. Legions they had spent time with could rebel with them, chasing out or possibly even murdering their own commanders (historically, this happened relatively often during the latter empire). I would even suggest that spawning well equipped rebel armies could be accurate as well, though not particularly large ones. A new civil war only unit for the rebeling factions home provinces, called "Legionary Veterans", low stamina (older men, owing loyalty from previous service) but high morale and skill. They cannot be recruited, and each full province gets a single stack of 10 of these units. They could also be slightly under strength, say 60 men instead of 80, with silver experience. They would be a challenge, but very hard for the rebels to replace their losses with the normal Hastati/Principes/Triarii/Velites combo.
Only thing about it that concerns me is that characters in game don't really retire from their positions. Generals stay until they die, so how would you ever have an ex-general in a revolting province to acquire these new units?
It would require a change to the character system allowing characters to 'retire' from active service and become Senators of various ranks, depending on their military experience.
With this helping shift political intrigue, balance, families wealth, power and authority in the Senate. also the amount of generals or governors in the family could help the number of edicts you can give, and the strength of the edict through character traits as a Family on the region? and would force you to protect and value them, making assassination of political enemies painful decisions with effects on regions, as apposed to provinces leading to Civil war or Regional Rebellions if you killed a legitimate heir assimilated by roman culture.
Much more realistic. Much more fun. An improvement across the board.
For Barbarian factions who don't have the three family politic system, a proposed change would be to have, rather than a full civil war, once your authority drops below 50% your highest ranked non family general rebels and tries to depose your family. If your authority drops below 25%, it could be your direct heir rebels, along with his sons and the provinces they're governors of, leading to a tribal civil war. Again, an improvement on the current lazy 'spawn stacks of doom at capital'.
The current design lacks finesse, lacks the gravity and spectacle of a real civil war scenario. The rebels spawn from nothing, with characters I don't know leading them, with troops who've never fought for the empire before, with legions I've never seen before.
They're the very worst kind of lazy rebel faction I've ever seen in a total war game.
Thanks for reading, really hope this thread gets good community support, especially with patch 2 showing CA are reading the forums and listening more.
If you can, please add a link to this thread in your signature to show your support, the more people who keep this thread on the front page the more chance we have of getting a response either by CA directly, or by a moderator notifying us they've passed along the details of the thread to CA.