Old World shares a big flaw with Crusader Kings III - nonsense events

Ita Bear

Warlord
Joined
Dec 8, 2020
Messages
214
Hello folks,

I've long been sceptical of random events in games and, though Old World takes a good step forward by having many events gated behind specific traits or events, they can sometimes be ludicrous and force the player into silly situations. My most recent experience compelled me to write this post.

My court recently acquired a court scholar and a few turns later an event popped up, saying that my court scholar had been conducting a diplomatic mission and was taken by Gallic tribesmen as hostage. I now have to either 1. pay for her release, 2. leave her to it or 3. go to war with the Gauls. There are numerous reasons why this event is silly:

1. why is my court scholar conducting a "diplomatic mission?" I never sent her anywhere, nor has she any tasks to do. I do not expect court scholars to be doing diplomatic missions.
2. why was she doing a diplomatic mission in lands known to be aggressive?
3. why is the Gallic leader antagonising me? There's no indication in his traits that he is greedy or looking for trouble. (actually, just double checked - this event seems to have fired because the leader is a Hero of all things...)
4. why does going to war release my scientist back to my protection? Surely going to war would enrage the Gauls enough to either kill the hostage or, at the very least, keep her prisoner? Not release her and send her back to my land to aid in the war effort?

These events seem to have little thought put into them and destroy any immersion the player may have had. I'm honestly becoming more and more convinced that random events have no place in games like this.

Kind regards,
Ita Bear
 

qouigv93027

Chieftain
Joined
Aug 9, 2022
Messages
74
The game is likely best enjoyed in a roleplaying context with at least some abstraction to game concepts and some creative liberties in understanding what's happening. One of the biggest ideas to accept is that people have rich and varied lives outside of their jobs and can do all manner of things, including landing in all manner of trouble. This is actually something that I like about the game, as characters' lives go on without player involvement, and it helps my immersion to every now and then see marriages happen and other such things.

A courtier is likely doing all sorts of things that help the realm and your rule, and that is how and why their attributes contribute to global yields. It's likely best to imagine that, even when they don't have a specific job, they still do various things here and there to help you (the leader) along, more than just sitting at your table and providing advice. So small diplomatic missions here and there become possible. Furthermore, they could be doing certain things on their own accord. Perhaps a local family or group is interested in some trade with this nearby tribe, and this courtier has decided it's helpful to try and make that happen (on their own time, or otherwise). So that might help the immersion with #1. Perhaps even with #2, since the game abstracts the detailed lives of each character and family relation, and maybe there's some good reason you might imagine that some trade or diplomatic relations may benefit, despite being through hostile lands.

For #3, it's likely best to understand the tribes as "less organized" and more prone to acts of... savagery, perhaps. The Gaelic leader is antagonizing you because in a tribe like this, power and legitimacy flow from aggression and brutality. You can even imagine a short story that might have happened, where your Court Scholar on a side mission for things she thought might benefit the empire, or just on a personal quest, accidentally offended the tribe, leading tribe members to call for blood and forcing the tribe leader's hand.

For #4, I could imagine that as springing this Court Scholar out of Gaelic jail, except doing so without the Gauls' permission, which they might see as an act of war. You issue the order "infiltrate their camp and get her back, and I don't care how many guards you have to kill to do so, even if this will lead to immediate retaliation, breakdown of relations, and war". The situation could be forced on either or both sides. The Gaelic leader, having suffered such an indignant assault, cannot reasonably explain to his people why he wouldn't immediately go to war with your nation. And likewise you, choosing to rescue your Court Scholar, cannot reasonably explain how this Gaelic hostage-taking situation is not an unacceptable aggression that demands retaliation (you might have been able to otherwise, if you disavowed the Court Scholar and said she never listened to you anyways and wasn't a good person, or something like that).

So I get what you're saying. But ultimately there just aren't great opportunities to simulate, narrate or micromanage the minutiae of everyone's lives to explain all events. Abstraction, roleplaying and imagination can carry you forward a long way in this regard. And doing so, I've rarely found truly outrageous or nonsensical events.
 

Fistleaf

Warlord
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
134
Location
Singapore
If a court scholar can be assigned to be a general, I cannot find a reason why he/she cannot conduct diplomatic or any other non-scholarly mission.
 

Ita Bear

Warlord
Joined
Dec 8, 2020
Messages
214
The game is likely best enjoyed in a roleplaying context with at least some abstraction to game concepts and some creative liberties in understanding what's happening. One of the biggest ideas to accept is that people have rich and varied lives outside of their jobs and can do all manner of things, including landing in all manner of trouble. This is actually something that I like about the game, as characters' lives go on without player involvement, and it helps my immersion to every now and then see marriages happen and other such things.

A courtier is likely doing all sorts of things that help the realm and your rule, and that is how and why their attributes contribute to global yields. It's likely best to imagine that, even when they don't have a specific job, they still do various things here and there to help you (the leader) along, more than just sitting at your table and providing advice. So small diplomatic missions here and there become possible. Furthermore, they could be doing certain things on their own accord. Perhaps a local family or group is interested in some trade with this nearby tribe, and this courtier has decided it's helpful to try and make that happen (on their own time, or otherwise). So that might help the immersion with #1. Perhaps even with #2, since the game abstracts the detailed lives of each character and family relation, and maybe there's some good reason you might imagine that some trade or diplomatic relations may benefit, despite being through hostile lands.

For #3, it's likely best to understand the tribes as "less organized" and more prone to acts of... savagery, perhaps. The Gaelic leader is antagonizing you because in a tribe like this, power and legitimacy flow from aggression and brutality. You can even imagine a short story that might have happened, where your Court Scholar on a side mission for things she thought might benefit the empire, or just on a personal quest, accidentally offended the tribe, leading tribe members to call for blood and forcing the tribe leader's hand.

For #4, I could imagine that as springing this Court Scholar out of Gaelic jail, except doing so without the Gauls' permission, which they might see as an act of war. You issue the order "infiltrate their camp and get her back, and I don't care how many guards you have to kill to do so, even if this will lead to immediate retaliation, breakdown of relations, and war". The situation could be forced on either or both sides. The Gaelic leader, having suffered such an indignant assault, cannot reasonably explain to his people why he wouldn't immediately go to war with your nation. And likewise you, choosing to rescue your Court Scholar, cannot reasonably explain how this Gaelic hostage-taking situation is not an unacceptable aggression that demands retaliation (you might have been able to otherwise, if you disavowed the Court Scholar and said she never listened to you anyways and wasn't a good person, or something like that).

So I get what you're saying. But ultimately there just aren't great opportunities to simulate, narrate or micromanage the minutiae of everyone's lives to explain all events. Abstraction, roleplaying and imagination can carry you forward a long way in this regard. And doing so, I've rarely found truly outrageous or nonsensical events.

I really appreciate your detailed post. I guess I'm just not a fan of the "roleplaying" aspect and making up situations for my characters if and when something happens. I'd much rather leave the roleplaying to roleplaying games, and the strategy to strategy games.

If a court scholar can be assigned to be a general, I cannot find a reason why he/she cannot conduct diplomatic or any other non-scholarly mission.
The problem here though is that I specifically assign my court scholar to be a general (though that is also rather wacky, I agree). If I assign them to be a general and something happens to them, I can see how that would be logical. I had absolutely zero input in my court scholar deciding to go adventuring in dangerous lands for some "diplomatic" purpose.

Honestly, this event seems like it would be much better suited to an "influence character" mission gone wrong, rather than a random occurence.

Kind regards,
Ita Bear
 

Quintillus

Archiving Civ3 Content
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I had absolutely zero input in my court scholar deciding to go adventuring in dangerous lands for some "diplomatic" purpose.
But you presume you have the ability to prevent them from going to dangerous lands on their own initiative.

Dennis Rodman went to North Korea. Nancy Pelosi went to Taiwan, without approval of the executive branch, which was not required. Jimmy Carter went to Damascus for a diplomatic mission and met with Hamas in 2008 despite the Bush administration asking him not to do so. Any of them could have gone poorly. Instead of Brittney Griner being detained by Russia, it could have been Dennis Rodman being forced to play for North Korean basketball teams, or Jimmy Carter being taken hostage by al-Assad or Hamas.

Those are all recent examples from the U.S., which until about five and two-thirds years ago didn't have a particularly high amount of palace intrigues. I've been listening to a podcast on 10th and 11th century France recently; my goodness there were a lot of unofficial and undercover diplomatic missions back then. You weren't sure that this illegitimate child William was fit to be king after his father died while on a pilgrimage? Well, maybe you conduct some side diplomacy while you're visiting the neighboring count on a hunting trip and see if he agrees that he might be a better lord of Normandy.

But you're a scholar! is the objection. Well, William the Conqueror's father, Robert the Magnificent/Devil got his whole country excommunicated after raising an army against one of his subject archbishops. You might be conducting diplomatic side missions if you were a court scholar, too, if you thought you would wind up in eternal hellfire otherwise. Especially if your lord hadn't been giving you enough work to keep you busy. I like to think of my court as having more in common with Game of Thrones than the Obama White House, and some of the events align with that quite nicely (grumbles about the time my sons conspired to assassinate me).

I do agree that war releasing the scholar is a bit odd. It's still useful for the Celts to have a hostage as a bargaining chip should the war go against them, right? Kind of like how in Crusader Kings II it seemed odd to me that by default, torture results in the release of a prisoner. It's a nice thought, and sure, sometimes that happened, but as a hard-and-fast rule it seemed odd. There were a lot of witches who would have appreciated that rule back in medieval/early modern Europe.

I was expecting the argument to be more about some of the supernatural/ridiculous Crusader Kings style events, which they recognize as being wacky enough that there's an option to disable them. Like the chain that leads to having horses as magistrates (or if you play into it enough, maybe even ruling your lands), or some of the ones involving the work of the devil or immortality. Not the mild "rewards from piety/your god favors you" but the stranger things. I don't know if those have been carried forward into CKIII, but I haven't seen any like that in Old World yet. Those can arguably break the historic setting, which is probably why Paradox added the option to disable them.

Overall, though, it does sound like you prefer your strategy à la carte, rather than served with a side of role playing. Which is fine. Part of the nice thing about today's variety of games is you can have the pure genre games but also combinations of various genres.

I kind of like the hybrid, though. But I'm the type of person who likes to tell a story even in more pure strategy games where there really isn't a lot in the way of role playing, so having some built in is kind of icing on the cake. And as well as Crusader Kings has done, Mohawk has probably done well to offer another experience that also blends some role playing into the strategy.

(I'm also not really a player of pure role playing games, which may contribute to why I like the hybrid strategy-first-but-also-some-RPG games)
 
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