Thoughts on the Schemer Archetype?

Discussion in 'Old World - General Discussions' started by steveg700, Oct 11, 2021.

  1. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

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    I regard schemers as kind of a booby prize. If it's my child's two archetypes, it never gets picked. If it's one of two choices for a marriage proposal, it's a strike against that one. Maybe that's myopic of me. I'm interested in what others have to say. Here are my thoughts on the topic.

    I need governors and generals by the bushel, so it's a shame a schemer can't manage to connive itself into the former position. I'm not sure how much it is just me and how much it is the tech tree, but I am usually not even unlocking the spymaster until a few generations into the game. If that's by design, it doesn't service the schemer archetype well.

    And of course, it's only once you unlock a spymaster that agents are an option. And then not for a while after that until the spy network has been extended to foreign cities.

    Schemers have a courage penalty. That is a big turn-off for me. Only schemers, orators, and zealots have a malus. A zealot will wind up in the field as a general, where its awesome courage will overshadow its wisdom penalty. An orator's discipline penalty is endurable just because there are many paths to positive cash flow.

    With an agent, negative courage means negative training. Again, it might just be me, but training seems like one of the resources with a more delicate supply/demand ratio. Granted, you do get more science than you lose in training. So, it's manageable...Kind of. Just doesn't feel great.

    With a spymaster, negative courage means negative discontent. That is a red flag. The one role that seems made for the schemer is one that appalls me to bestow on them. Technically, it's just a -0.5, and the other available archetypes (scholar, tactician) don't get a courage bonus. Still, discontent is another one of those supply/demand ratios that be tight. And the schemer's wisdom bonus feels wasted here. It's bonus science, which never sucks to have, but it is just contributing to fungible pool.

    A schemer leader doesn't seem to have a standout, game-changing feature. I'm not going to feel like I'm better of waging a war with a schemer because it gets +2 orders. Use legitimacy to buy orders? That doesn't sound like something I should want to do. The big thing I'm curious about is the Adopt Child project. So as a schemer, I can have a bunch more children? Are the children legitimized, or do they start out as bastards?

    Some thoughts on possible changes.

    Agent: This is pretty straightforward. Some archetypes have bonuses that apply when they're general or governor, but nothing like that exists for agents. For this reason, heroes are well-disposed to being generals (and as they currently stand, are unlikely to be used as agents unless they're at a surplus). OTOH, schemers that can't find their way onto the council have only agent as an option. Why not grant them some "as agent" bennies? The schemer could get something like -50% mission cost, and bonus XP for successful missions (this helps you groom an agent to become a spymaster). Or whatever, you get the idea. For further parity, why not add strengths and weaknesses related to being an agent?

    .....OR just stop treating agent as if it were an analogue to the other roles. Let schemers be governors. There is actually a shortage of governor types that result in certain families not being able to govern their own cities (e.g. riders).

    Spymaster: Swap out the discontent modifier assigned to courage with the religious opinion modifier assigned to charisma in charisma so at least it's in neutral territory for all three archetypes. Then do something more unique with Wisdom than just a science modifier. Maybe have it add +3% chance to all mission's chance of succeeding with the best result (and consequently, -3% chance of succeeding with the worst result. Or have Wisdom modify the cost of missions (in money or civics) by 5%.

    Leader: Needs a potent signature ability. Maybe something like a mission that can flip cities with an agent at the cost of a whole lot of gold (maybe meeting some other criteria that offers a means of defense, like being unconnected, or having a governor that's upset with its leader)? Maybe being able to settle camped city-sites? Or pay to bribe a unit to take control of it (which would let you can just move the camper off)?
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2021 at 9:46 AM
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  2. PiR

    PiR Emperor Supporter

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    I've never had a schemer leader. I think it's the only type I never got. Probably never was appealing to me. Only thing nice as a leader would be invisible scouts but... not enough to choose this, except maybe at the start for a safer exploration.

    That is 95% nogo for me.
     
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  3. Solver

    Solver Mohawk Games Designer

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    Schemers get the highest boost to Wisdom, at +4. That alone makes me like Schemer leaders, a leader's Wisdom has benefits that ramp up rapidly, and a Schemer could easily have 6 Wisdom by graduation (4 from Schemer, 1 from Philosophy studies, with 1 more from some event). A leader Schemer is also a formidable general as Wisdom helps critical hit chance, so you can get a general with >50% critical chance.
     
  4. jguy100

    jguy100 Warlord

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    From a role play perspective, having a schemer in the line of succession can lead to some interesting events.
     
  5. Dale

    Dale Mohawk Games Developer

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    Having a pissed off schemer in the line of succession is even more interesting. ;)

    *cough* Remus *cough*
     
  6. PiR

    PiR Emperor Supporter

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  7. jguy100

    jguy100 Warlord

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    I swear I had a pleased schemer plot against me. Perhaps he became pleased after the plotting began? Regardless, it led to a very emotional "You were like a brother to me!" moment.
     
  8. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

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    I might try it at some point just to see if the Adopt Child project offers any surprises.

    Not too compelled by the argument that high Wisdom negates concerns about the lack of a signature leader ability. And maybe see if burning Legitimacy to gain orders can be a good trade-off. Just doesn't sound like it.
     
  9. PiR

    PiR Emperor Supporter

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    Legitimacy I rarely sacrifice and I wouldn't do it for orders. Maybe for a mercenary in like an extreme necessity, otherwise that's just bad planning for me.
    I always prioritize Wisdom because the science bonus is exponential. However I think after a certain number the exponentiality is stopped and it becomes linear, is that correct?
     
  10. alcaras

    alcaras Warlord

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    Schemers are incredibly strong in Random Leaders, particularly on high difficulties where you're badly order starved at the start.

    A Schemer leader enables you to trade legitimacy for orders, which in the early game, can fuel scouting moves that give you more legitimacy or bolster your economy. Orders for legitimacy is usually well worth the trade since orders tend to give you legitimacy back in the end.

    (h/t nolegs who uh, demonstrated this strategy for me in a duel...)
     
  11. nolegskitten

    nolegskitten Warlord

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    I'll keep it short : Schemers are not underpowered. Not only they have the strongest base wisdom of any archetypes, they also have the most effective abilities regarding orders, specially in the early game (Orators dominate that side in late game).

    Some of my strongest games in MP have been spearheaded by getting a schemer as my random leader.

    Buying orders with legitimacy is excellent, and +2 orders per war means all these instant war dec on tribes you encounter are worth +2 orders per turn on top of the legitimacy, no other conditions attached.

    You'd be amazed what can be done with scouts early in the game when you can buy orders. In particular, you'll easily make that legitimacy back simply by discovering landmarks first.

    In the Duel we had with Alcaras which changed his opinion about schemers, I burned no less than 44 legitimacy. That bought me 220 orders. I didn't count the legitimacy I got from them, but I suspect you underestimate the value of orders.
     
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  12. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

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    Thanks for the input on schemers...as leaders anyhow. Good point about being at war with tribes. My take on them in leader capacity has somewhat improved. Although it also makes me think that schemers and scholars should have their rating adjustments swapped out, so the latter is the science champ.

    Well, preserving legitimacy is the act of valuing orders, in the same way that preserving a cow means you value milk for years over a steak tonight. :)

    In your scenario, it sounds like you sacrificed 44 orders for the entirety of the game to get five turns worth of orders at once. Consider how being in a duel map scenario skews the value of staking everything on one big move.

    Unless there's some trick here I don't know about, philosophy studies will not produce a schemer. Could produce a scholar, which would then have +4 wisdom.
     
  13. nolegskitten

    nolegskitten Warlord

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    well, 44 legitimacy generate 4.4 orders a turn. Not only these orders coming earlier allowed me to ramp up economy with harvesting, get excellent scouting as I could use my 2 scouts to their full potential (rider capital), and also use all the units I had at once. I guarantee you that in this scenario (Schemer as a starting leader) it is very competitive, specially in MP where you will produce massive amounts of units and the main limitation is the orders you need to strike with everything. Each legitimacy point buys 5 orders. You get back more legitimacy from having built more improvement, having killed more units, having discovered more landmarks, etc. I'm not saying they're overpowered but this ability to get orders now is pretty strong. I ignored it for a long time as most people do (I assume) since legitimacy is so good, but I tried it once in a random leader game and now I consider myself lucky when I get a schemer as random leader.

    That game was an extreme example because I allowed myself to waste some orders as I knew the game was probably in the bag earlier, but when the game ended, 220 orders was still way more than 5 turns worth of orders : we had 3 cities each !
    This was a game with early war and sustained aggression, I maintain that being able to move 6 to 8 chariots to their full movement every turn, plus use all your workers, plus scouting, plus all other units is not to be underestimated, even if it cost you 3 orders per turn at the end of the game.

    in MP anyway short term is king, so getting orders now is extremely potent.

    It is somewhat situational yes, but all abilities are, even the strongest. A builder or a scholar can be amazing, yes, but when a hero invade with his army they're not much use. Conversely, a hero can't win the game when massively outproduced or out-teched by a nation which built enough economic or scientific lead.
     
  14. PiR

    PiR Emperor Supporter

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    OK you convinced me there is a big use-case for buying orders with legitimacy. I thought this was a tradeoff between short-term and long-term, but I see now you can quickly replace the lost points in legitimacy.

    What about schemers not as leaders though? just as family members
     
  15. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

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    ?

    The legitimacy is supposedly replaced "from having built more improvement, having killed more units, having discovered more landmarks, etc"

    I'm left skeptical about seeing a big or quick reimbursement.

    How would having 220 rather than 44 orders generate lots of legitimacy by "building more improvements"? Were there dozens of workers waiting around waiting for orders? So you get to start on a garrison or pasture that might have had to wait a turn?

    How does having 220 rathe than 44 result in "having killed more units"? There are tons of enemy units and you have so much firepower that orders are the *only* constraint on the being slaughtered?

    I can see where you can do a force march on a scout to discover some more landmarks. But realistically, exploration grants 1 or 2 points of legitimacy, and it's not like it's that constant. If it was done with 44 orders, then it was late enough in the game that the map wasn't all that cloudy.

    To me it sounds like going on a massive spending spree and then talking about all the fabulous "savings" in VISA cashback points. In actuality, it was probably just a fraction of the 44 legitimacy that was returned.

    Good question.

    I think a lot can be inferred by what people don't speak to. There's been positive discussion of schemers being good leaders. That's great.

    TBH though, in my original post I kind of threw the leader stuff in as almost an afterthought. Most schemers in your nation will not be a leader. So they're relegated to a very poor place in the current game. a lot of that has to do with how the game design limits the archetype to two functions. By making schemers unable to be governors or generals, the agent role de facto has to weighed against those roles.

    But I just don't see myself needing agents like I do governors and generals. They don't have their own strengths (or weaknesses) that personalize them. Their value is dictated by the value and frequency by which you can pull off spymaster missions. I would argue that spymasters missions are very "meh", but in so doing I know I invite responses that try to depict them as undervalued based on niche use cases anecdotal evidence. :)

    There's kind of a missing component where someone can be sent to foreign cities as envoys, and be used for actions that don't amount to theft or sabotage. But then again, ambassadors and chancellors also have an issue with them not being able to do much actively until players are pretty far along in researching techs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2021 at 9:47 AM
  16. PiR

    PiR Emperor Supporter

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    An agent, just by being in a city, will provide you with yields.
     
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  17. Dale

    Dale Mohawk Games Developer

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    Mmmmmmm STEAK!
     
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  18. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

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    Yes, like a governor, just not as good---which was one of my points there, and in my original post.

    Some archetypes have useful "as governor" abelites. A builder governs a city, the city can build improvements faster. Other archetypes allow for some means of rush-buying, and so forth. Then they can be augmented further with XP and strengths. You can also get a boost to family opinion.

    Now, go to the effort to infiltrate a city, throw an agent, and you get some science at the expense of some training. That sums what you will get from any schemer that is assigned to being an agent.

    Governors are important to the extent of being worth having in surplus so you can have optionality. Agents need similar attention, with schemers needing some "as agent" abilities.

    How about milksteak?

    upload_2021-10-14_17-28-30.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2021 at 9:48 AM
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  19. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I actually think Schemer's are really good leaders because of the 2 orders per war thing. Often you will be at wars with the various barbarian tribes while your expanding territory. That's 4-6 orders right there, which early on can be a crucial boon. The wisdom bonus is of course a major bonus as well.

    Adopt kids is a very niche ability.... one is the fact that it damn hard to actually find the ability. You have to go to the family list and find the kids, you can't do it from your leader screen like basically every other ability. And done badly you can just have a royally teed off family line. But if your lacking for heirs its solid, and an adopted child usually has a big relationship bonus with you, so grow them right and they can give some very nice bonuses.
     
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  20. nolegskitten

    nolegskitten Warlord

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    I don't know what difficulty level you're playing at, maybe you don't feel the pressure for orders as much. At least in the way I'm playing, I generally have many more units, workers etc that I can use to their full extent each turn. Having more orders means I can wage more wars, kill more barbarians, tribes and opponents, found more cities, complete more improvement, explore further, etc. Each of these actions, outside of any other direct benefit, contribute to granting my leader better cognomens, and also usually quicker ambitions. Both of these have a huge impact on legitimacy itself.

    I suspect you might underestimate the value of doing stuff, which is essentially what orders are.
    Also, I'm not sure where you take the 44 orders from ? 44 legitimacy points generate 4.4 orders a turn, not 44. each legitimacy is .1 order/turn, just like say, a citizen. Getting cities and citizen earlier will also contribute to compensating the loss.

    Once again, I'm not saying that you should burn all your legitimacy buying orders. I'm saying that after experimenting with it, I am personally convinced that this is a very strong ability that can produce great results if used wisely, and indeed to me the defining trait of the the archetype as a leader.

    Non leader schemers provide a good science through their wisdom, and they also make excellent agents and spymasters who also increase science production.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2021

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