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Playing as a vassal

Discussion in 'Rhye's and Fall - Dawn of Civilization' started by Leoreth, Jan 13, 2020.

  1. Leoreth

    Leoreth Friend Next Door Moderator

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    I am wondering how to enable playing as a vassal and what the rules would be. Currently, I am mostly thinking about starting as a vassal. This is relevant for Canada, which could start as an English vassal, but if other colonial civs are added later on they would also benefit from it. This would allow having them reasonably spawn earlier, make their initial game feel more historical and interesting, and also makes their spawn less of a drag on the colonial power, so we do not cut down the British Empire ahistorically early.

    What I am thinking of is:
    - you can cancel your vassal status according to the same rules as the AI, i.e. you need to meet a certain population/territory percentage of your owner
    - you cannot complete any historical goals while being a vassal (making independence an implicit goal while playing a civ that starts as one, which makes sense), but you can still accumulate progress toward your goals
    - limitations to your foreign policy apply
    - some kind of "we want independence" unhappiness modifier in your cities, maybe building up over time, maybe increased by giving in to demands from your master, maybe reduced if you have positive relations with your master
    - having positive relations with your master should ease the conditions for independence, to follow the Commonwealth model

    Beyond that, I think it also makes sense for players to capitulate or become peace vassals of AIs, although the AI should only accept this for a significant power difference and other conditions. But it kind of makes sense, for example why shouldn't player Korea become a Chinese vassal for a while. Any concerns around that?

    Thoughts and comments in general?
     
  2. Tigranes

    Tigranes Armenian

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    In addition to Canada every single nation who ever declared as independent can and should start as a vassal. America, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico. Hey, even Russia and England can start as Viking vassals. If France spawn early as Francia then HRE can start as a vassal named Austrasia. Script can trigger AI independence declaration but humans should have an ability to declare independence whenever they want, with no connection to regular requirements to allow for the wide variety of situation.
     
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  3. Leoreth

    Leoreth Friend Next Door Moderator

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    Not very helpful in discussing how this would actually work.
     
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  4. Tigranes

    Tigranes Armenian

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    Well we need to identify who to work with before thinking how it will work, agreed? Using chipotle and Alt Shift X I actually changed my civ to become someone's vassal and it felt pretty cool playing in this role. AI masters never abuse their vassals resource-wise, they actually gift you when they can.
     
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  5. Ballazic

    Ballazic King

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    This sounds great. I think that it could be a lot of fun for Canada to start a bit earlier (maybe around the time of the US's spawn) but as a vassal of the UK. This works historically because the Quebec Act passed in 1774. https://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/history/north-america/canada/quebec-act-1774. I assume you will need to nerf Canada if it starts a bit earlier. But it would make for some interesting start, if you are at war with the US at the beginning because your liege lord is fighting to regain the 13 colonies.
     
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  6. Force44

    Force44 King

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    These are some ideas that came to mind.



    I would love to see questlike demands you have to fulfill as a vassal.


    eg. Build a navy as the koreans when vassalized by the mongols. (to try to invade japan)

    Not being able to fulfill the requests in time might be penalized by temporirily losing control over some of your cities.

    eg. II whenever the master gets embroiled in a war you got n turns to gift the master x amount of requested units. Else you will lose population through forced drafting (with resulting unhappiness)

    Whenever you succeed in a demand/quest you gain improved relations with the master (perhaps even a bonus to access to some of the masters gold or technologies) and a decrease in requirements to become independent again. (less percentage and population required for independence)

    ~

    Also I would love to see that becoming a peacefull vassal comes with a reward (a stack of units to fend off the mutual enemy, or a hefty sum of gold and/or technologies.

    ~

    And I when you eclipse your (former) master the roles get reversed. (you become master of your former master and all of his vassals, I like this for the HolyRomanEmpire style of politics it could bring to the game)

    ~

    Finally I would like vassals to be able to also be masters of vassals themselves

    (eg France master of the dutch, dutch master of the indonesians)
     
  7. TsarAndreas

    TsarAndreas Chieftain

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    Independence Points

    Would it be worth borrowing some concepts or mechanics from Civ4 Colonization? I haven’t played that for a while but I think you needed a specific “revolution score” before you could declare independence? Maybe here you could accumulate these by building certain buildings, e.g. printing presses, to represent your people’s growing desire for independence?

    Quests

    Building on the quest idea, you could complete certain tasks that either prepare you for independence or maintain the status quo.

    E.g. You find out that a group of local merchants are meeting in the harbour tonight. They intend to empty the cargo of a ship from the motherland into the sea. Do you?

    a) report them - gain 1 unhappiness, receive +1 relations with master

    b) distract the guards - gain 50 revolution points, -1 relations with master

    c) do nothing - .....<insert as appropriate>

    Fun as a vassal

    In terms of capitulating to an AI, the idea is that you give up your freedom in order to survive, right? Even better, you now have a strong neighbour to protect you, so this sounds like a good idea.

    My only worry is that players may feel a little restricted, but as long as there is a viable path to independence they should be okay. Paths to independence that I can see:

    - you grow as per the usual rules
    - your master collapses
    - you reject a demand that leads to war with your master

    Players becoming vassals would ultimately have to accept having no control over their foreign policy, but maybe there should be a mechanism to allow the player vassal to influence the AI master.

    For instance, if the UK does want to go to war with America, Canada would at least want a heads up, if not a chance to say “just give me 5 turns to get my workers out the way and my Cannons to the border.”
     
  8. JDPElGrillo

    JDPElGrillo Chieftain

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    I think this is a neat idea, but it may be tricky to hit the right balance of role play and gameplay considerations. For example, I like TsarAndreas’ idea of revolution points that can be accrued in different (somewhat unpredictable, like with the Boston Tea Party event example) ways, so there’s replay ability from a vassal start and you’re not just waiting out a turn count or fulfilling the same requirements every time.

    It would also be really fun if the diplomacy interface could be extended to include deals where you agree to some future action. The most important example would be agreeing to declare war together in X turns, such that you can actually position and prepare, instead of being caught by surprise by your master’s whims. Other examples would be impactful changes like civic or religion swap demands, so you could agree to them more often without losing so much productivity. Your attitude modifier might affect how much advance notice you get. Delayed trades would also allow a framework for demands/pacts, e.g. trade us this resource/tech in X turns, or gift us this unit/gold every X turns.

    Some other standing conditions might be better implemented as quest/event lines, like being told by your master not to trade with specific civs, not to adopt certain civics (maybe just one from a few columns), not to settle certain areas, not to research new military techs, etc. Some of these would be fixed for historical flavor, but others could also be scripted such that they’re partially randomized each game, and there could be some variance in the incentives each time, e.g. breaking this condition means lots of unhappiness in your capital, vs breaking this condition causes some of your military to disband, vs meeting the condition for X turns earns +1 attitude and removes the condition.

    There’s also the matter of independence and how that should feel different in different relationships. Perhaps you actively want independence, or you’re slowly pushed towards it by mounting unhappiness like in one of Leoreth’s example, or you see your master being unstable and have to prepare for the possibility of their collapse. Perhaps other civs could even force your master to release you somehow. Along those lines, how would your neighbors react to your independence? I could see a mix of support and opportunistic conquest being fun to play with, especially if there’s some way to tell the player in advance some idea of what might happen. E.g. 20th century India and Pakistan tending to align with different civs when they’re released from the UK.
     
  9. trevor

    trevor Warlord

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    Choosing to become an AI vassal (peace or capitulation) should zero out stability & give a get-out-of-jail-free card on the next check.

    Paired with a hefty score, science/gold modifier penalty, shedding of historical/foreign cities &/or a ten (?) turn cooling-off period to cancel as while the mechanic could be really useful for a player in trouble, I could see it being gamed for better stability.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
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  10. Steb

    Steb King

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    This would be a very nice feature. It would be very good to represent Canada as a Dominion between 1867 and 1931. Would the master depend on who controls the area? If France is the main colonist, would Canada spawn as a French vassal instead of British? What if there are no colonies or independent cities only?

    Makes sense and works for Canada, even though I'm not sure that the comparative importance of Canada vs the UK had an impact on the decision of granting more autonomy.
    I'm not sure I like this for cases like the Korea peace vassal example you mentioned. You would never become a vassal if going for the UHV. If you want independence to be part of the goal for a vassal-spawned civ, I suggest making it explicit instead.
    This makes sense. Canada didn't have a choice of going to war against Germany in 1914. The feeling that you are at the mercy of international events can be immersive.
    Maybe. For a case like Canada, I'm not sure it's justified. English Canadians, as far as I know, were proud members of the Empire in the early 20th c. (French Canadians weren't, but they were more a case of a conquered people yearning to be free of the invader.) There were rebellions in 1837-38, but that would be before the Dominion (and can be seen as one of the events leading to the establishment of the Dominion).
    Makes sense, though bad relations leading to an independence war would be an interesting mechanic as well.

    I want to emphasize that I don't think Canada's spawn should be any earlier than 1867. Before that, it is best modelled as directly ruled from Britain. You could argue for a vassal-spawn in 1840, which is when the colony of Canada (which was separate from Nova Scotia until 1867, by the way) obtained responsible government; but that would just buy us a few turns, and 1840 is a much, much less signifiant date than 1867. Anything before that would be akin to saying any colony, anywhere, could be recast as a vassal civilization spawning at an arbitrary point. Should the US spawn in 1607 and slowly prepare their independence until 1775? No, it is better to represent this period with British control.

    I do agree that we could have interesting gameplay with an early Canada or other cases, but it is not worth the break in realism in my opinion. The only way I could see this work is if we can have multiple spawn dates for a civilization. Perhaps a human player could, optionally, start a game as Canada or the US as soon as a colonist lands, and play a Colonization-style game. But in the vast majority of cases, including human games, I want Canada to spawn in 1867.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  11. johnfloyd27

    johnfloyd27 Chieftain

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    Starting as a vassal could be a fun way to add a new game experience.

    Low master stability should make it easier to break free.

    How would you guarantee master countries are around to be vassals to? (If Britain collapses, for instance)

    Maybe when you break free violently, you can have the option of striking an alliance with your master country’s most-hated enemy (similar to the US allying France during the Revolution).

    For European powers, all non-euro/non-Russian settlements could automatically become vassals organized by continent when founded. Any troops you send to the continent remain under your control, though. You could use these troops to wage foreign war (though any cities you capture go to your vassal) or to park an army in the neighborhood in case your vassal declares independence, but having soldiers in a vassal’s territory cranks up revolutionary sentiment.

    Vassals could have some kind of revolutionary sentiment meter or value that grows over time, especially when their masters drags them into wars. Vassals choose when they want to strike out independent, but lose a % of units and cities who remain loyalists and switch to the control of a new vassal that’s still loyal to the master country based on how revolutionary the people are feeling.

    When playing the master country, you would have to mind your colonial vassals’ revolutionary ire (that impacts their attitude toward you) and could decrease it by gifting them resources or gold in flat sums or per turn (they’d made periodic demands to represent protests over taxation and exploitation). If you ever grant a vassal independence, they start their independence as your military ally, but could end that partnership as soon as 10 turns later, pending their attitude toward you.

    Independence should prompt the choice of an immediate government change where civic choices are implemented immediately without anarchy.
     
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  12. johnfloyd27

    johnfloyd27 Chieftain

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    If some form of vassal mechanics are added, it might be fun to change one of Britain’s UHV’s to maintaining vassals on every continent until 1947 (the year India declared independence) or 1997 (the year Hong Kong was returned to China).
     
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  13. LukeAtmey

    LukeAtmey Chieftain

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    It was some years ago I had a conversation about this with my friends who also play CIV4. They had a really hard time understanding why I would want this feature in as it in a sense means "losing the game". However, I don't agree with that viewpoint as I feel there are many other dimensions to this game than just the war and conquer element, and this is especially true in a mod like DOC. So I have to say I would really love to have a feature like this in the game and feel (if implemented well!) it would bring so much.

    There are several good suggestions here in this thread about how being an AI vassal could work. The previously suggested revolutionary points were a nice idea though I'm not sure how troublesome it would be to implement? Either way it's something to look at I think. The loss of control over your foreign diplomacy is a part of being a vassal naturally, but I understand some might feel it leaves sort of an empty hole on an otherwise important aspect of the game. Maybe this gap could be filled with having some scripted events related to the vassal-master -relations and interactions?

    On a side note, if you decide to focus on this feature, it could simultaneously prove to be a good opportunity to improve the player master - ai vassal aspect as well! For example one small thing I've disliked is the fact you can't demand (you can only ask which they can refuse without repercussions) resources/techs from your vassal if they have a positive disposition towards you.
     
  14. Leoreth

    Leoreth Friend Next Door Moderator

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    This isn't in response to anyone in specific and I want to reply in more detail later, but let me say two things that are important to me:
    - if possible, I would like to avoid adding a whole special system/mechanic to being a vassal and becoming independent
    - vassal/master interactions should not take the form of event chains

    I think this is the common Paradox model for adding depth in a specific dimension to the game, which is both not what type of game this is and also something they failed at quite often, introducing systems that were poorly connected to the rest of the game and either tedious or superfluous.

    The better path in my opinion is to integrate more deeply with existing systems, such as happiness and diplomacy (but not necessarily limited to those). This way decisionmaking around becoming a vassal or becoming independent feeds directly into other decisions around these systems, instead of being isolated. Of course that can still mean rule changes, including changes to the existing vassal rules, as well as some scripted stuff (which RFC always had, for example revolutionary/loyalist army spawns, in particular for the AI), but in general this will result in a much less clunky and more easily maintained system.

    I think it's best to talk about the topic in terms of these questions:
    - how do you become independent and how do the benefits of becoming independent compare to the requirements?
    - if I spawn as a vassal, what motivates me to become independent? what motivates me to remain a vassal for some time?
    - what motivates me to peacefully become a vassal? what motivates me to become independent again after that?
    - what motivates me to keep vassals instead of letting vassals be independent as a master?
     
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  15. JDPElGrillo

    JDPElGrillo Chieftain

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    Keeping things simple and more within the scope of existing systems:

    0. Use the three existing war-vassal scores (land/army/pop) to calculate a “we want to be independent” score. Could also be affected by vassal and master stability and diplo attitudes. I’ll refer to this as the independence score further below, and it would be displayed with the other vassal scores when hovering over the diplo interface.

    1a. Refuse a master demand, immediately enter war. A lower independence score comes with scaling penalties.
    1b. With a sufficiently high independence score, starting a golden age also declares independence. Exceeding the independence score threshold awards scaling bonuses.
    1c. A master’s collapse frees its vassals. Can come with a range of effects, based on independence score.

    2. Independence allows you to independently declare war and make peace, and frees you from the master’s demands. Being a vassal presumably makes other AIs take into account the master’s power when planning war, and for peace vassals gain a guaranteed trading partner (better modifier for open borders, resource and tech trades).

    3. Becoming a peace vassal should prompt all AIs planning war against you to re-roll after taking into account your master’s power. Capitulation should be a last resort, but is better than being eliminated. At low independence score, being a vassal awards happiness, while a high independence score causes unhappiness.

    4. Keeping your peace vassals gets you better trade modifiers (especially in the late game, your peace vassals should almost never tell you they don’t want to trade techs), domination score contribution, and guaranteed votes for diplomatic victory.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  16. DarkLunaPhantom

    DarkLunaPhantom Prince Supporter

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    Can't you always just ALT+click your vassal on the scoreboard to demand resources?
     
  17. johnfloyd27

    johnfloyd27 Chieftain

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    - how do you become independent?
    --- Hard to say without adding a new system. Certainly if the master collapses. Would adding a diplomacy dialog option be possible?
    --- Maybe building a new palace or some sort of national wonder triggers independence? You even offer two national wonders to choose from, violent revolution (shorter build time, but puts you at war with your master) and peaceful independence (takes wayyyy longer, maybe 10x longer, but you enter independence at peace and in military alliance with your former master)
    -and how do the benefits of becoming independent compare to the requirements?
    --- If you take the building a national wonder route, it would be a multi-turn investment for one of your cities. I think this question kind of overlaps with the next two.
    - if I spawn as a vassal, what motivates me to become independent? what motivates me to remain a vassal for some time?
    Motives for independence
    :
    --- UHV requirements
    --- To avoid being dragged into unplanned wars declared by or on the master
    --- To allow you to declare war and expand through conquest
    --- Unhappiness penalty for anyone who spawns as a vassal?
    Motives for staying a vassal:
    --- The master makes bigger nations less likely to declare war on you while you grow through peaceful settlement
    --- I still like the idea of, if you opt for violent revolution, you lose some units (and ideally cities), using the same mechanic that takes units when you resist a city flip on a new nation's spawn. Postponing this revolutionary war until you're ready is a motive to stay.
    Could go either way:
    --- Boost to happiness before discovery of a certain tech (I forget, is nationhood in the tech tree?) and a hit to happiness after.
    --- Vassals are currently impacted by their masters' instability, correct? Depending on your master, could be a reason to stay, could be a reason to go.
    --- Maybe add a new civic option that nations born as vassals start under and other nations who become vassals can switch to called "Client State." The civic could eliminate trade with non-master nations but increase the value of trade with your master, it could make military units and buildings cost more hammers but non-military units and buildings cost less hammers, and reduce the building rate for wonders. Being a vassal and not living under this civic could cause significant unhappiness in cities.
    - what motivates me to peacefully become a vassal?
    --- Becoming a vassal is interesting... Maybe it can be a way to avoid collapse and get a temporary stability boost (whether because you're losing a war or just because your instability is bad).
    --- Maybe this can replace the "You've been defeated" due to collapse outcome. It's always a bummer to see that happen and feel a bit helpless. If you could instead just collapse to your two or three largest cities and become a vassal to your nearest neighbor, it could give you a chance to launch an epic rally.
    --- For early civs with an expiration date, becoming a vassal could erase any penalty for living beyond collapse date
    --- If becoming a vassal is implemented through the existing diplomacy system, can the AI offer gold, technology, or resources in exchange for willingly becoming their vassal? (On the flip side, if you offer to become a vassal to an AI because you're losing a war to them, they can demand gold, technology, or resources in exchange for agreeing)
    - what motivates me to become independent again after that?
    --- Make UHV victory impossible while a vassal - so independence is a prereq for victory.
    --- If you peacefully became a vassal to avoid collapse, your goal is likely to escape this to resume your growth goals
    - what motivates me to keep vassals instead of letting vassals be independent as a master?
    --- To have them as a buffer against invasion by a rival
    --- Stability reasons
    --- Perhaps having vassals can provide a happiness bonus before certain techs?
    --- Tie vassals to more civic choices. Maybe some civics can offer double trade value with vassals, for example

    Lots of ideas, some may be terrible or not what you're looking for, but I hope some of it is helpful! Love the mod and appreciate you putting time into developing it.
     
  18. Force44

    Force44 King

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    Thanks for the restraints, they are really helpfull in thinking about the subject.
    (summary at the bottom of the post)

    In reply to these pointers I would suggest just putting the state of being a vassal on a counter (eg a fixed amount of turns as a vassal)

    That makes the player choose if the benefits outweigh the costs every couple of turns.

    Becoming a vassal (either by choice or force, feel free to make a joke at my expense here ;)) should transform (for both the future vassal and master) one kind of resource into another, so that the cost-reward ratio for both the player and AI varies per deal.

    This could be done through questlike events (which Leoreth prefers to avoid), but also during negotiations. (which would happen whenever the ongoing vassal-agreement would run out)
    (eg. temporily cede n cities in exchange for permanently x gold and/or advances for the duration of the 'vassal-agreement'.)

    To summarize: Within the parameters of Leoreths current ambition regarding vassals I would suggest making the vassalage of one civilization by another a tradeoption for a certain amount of turns triggered by a disparity in the power domain between said civilizations.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
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  19. TJDowling

    TJDowling King

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    I think refusing a demand as a vassal should definitely be pretext for an independence war as in the case of the USA (though perhaps the USA is not a contender for starting as a vassal). Not sure if this falls under expanding the concept too far category but possibly refusing a demand could trigger a conqueror event to sufficiently de-incentivise premature independence attempts. Otherwise situations where the vassal is on a different continent would be too easy to declare independence through refusing a demand due to the AIs inability to effectively wage wars across large distances/water.

    Also, how much control should the player have over production/research and things like that versus the AI master?
     
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  20. Leoreth

    Leoreth Friend Next Door Moderator

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    Full control.
     
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