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War is changing in Crusader Kings 2

Siege the day

Forget everything Fallout has ever taught you because war is changing. We already knew about upcoming geographical expansions in Crusader Kings II [official site], making areas that were previously impassable playable, but fresh news arrived in today's dev diary and it involves changes to fundamental systems. The major shift will be in the causes of war, which will no longer require justification in every instance. That could be a dramatic change, given that one of the most important aspects of CK II is the need for a Casus Belli to not only declare war but to inform the goals of a war. The other alterations will come in battle itself, specifically sieges. More below.

If you've never played CK II you might not understand why an unjustified war would be such a big deal. After all, what kind of medieval king doesn't assume the same powers as Oliver Stone's Nixon who reckoned he could "bomb whoever he liked?" Well, you might not get impeached for stabbing your neighbours in the back but you are going to need a good reason to carve up their territory and take a slice for yourself. Traditionally, the best way to seize land that you had no authentic claim on, through familial connections, de jure rights or other means, was to fabricate a fresh claim. This takes time and CK II maestro Henrik Fåhraeus says he met a lot of players at the Paradox Convention a couple of weeks ago who find the process "annoying".

And so, change is coming:

"First off, we’re going to deemphasize the 'Fabricate Claim' job by giving all playable entities (including Christians) a form of 'Unjustified War' Casus Belli that will allow you to seize a single County for an upfront cost of Piety, Prestige or Gold (depending on your Religion and Government Form.) Ideally, I'd also like to replace the 'Fabricate Claim' job with something else (maybe something to do with foreign embassies and arranging marriages, or something to do with Laws. Suggestions are welcome!) However, we might decide leave it there as it is (it does still have some uses.)"

As long as the balance is right, in terms of the cost of this kind of action as well as the targets it can be used against (Christian against Christian should carry a much harsher penalty, for example) and the reputation hit that it causes, this seems like a way to cut out a repetitive process and that would be a good thing. But if the balance isn't right, war might become a thing of little note or consequence, and that would be irritating. I have faith that Henrik and his team will settle on a good solution eventually and hope whatever expansion or patch this update arrives in doesn't land in my game before that solution is in place.

The changes to sieges are intended to prevent assaults that can blitz through defenses too quickly.

"Next, we're adding a Game Rule for Siege Assaults. The options are 'Unlimited', which works like before, 'On', which disables Assaults against Holdings at Fort Level 6 or above, and 'Off', which disables Assaults entirely. We're currently playing around with these changes, so the exact rules for the 'On' setting might change. On a related note, the time it takes to siege down Holdings is also being tweaked, to make it quicker overall but also making the Fort Level matter more."

Essentially, this shouldn't make any holding flat-out invulnerable but it should make whittling down the defenses of a well-fortified location a far more drawn-out affair.

I'm guessing these changes will come with the next expansion, which will also open up Tibet and its environs.

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About the Author

Adam Smith

Former Deputy Editor

Adam wrote for Rock Paper Shotgun between 2011-2018, rising through the ranks to become its Deputy Editor. He now works at Larian Studios on Baldur's Gate 3.