Political Change Through Faction Crises

“Begin with a function of arbitrary complexity. Feed it values, “sense data”. Then, take your result, square it, and feed it back into your original function, adding a new set of sense data. Continue to feed your results back into the original function ad infinitum. What do you have?”

– The Clockwork Empires game simulation! (Thank you, Academician Prokhor Zakharov.) Specific acts in the simulation itself may provoke crisis events. Crisis events allow a player to change their settlement’s policy toward certain factions. I’ve talked about this subject before a little in “Event Design Using Twine”. Let’s pull a newly implemented example: A Fishperson finds a source of meat and butchers that meat, then consumes it. Perfectly natural, but in conflict with the pseudo-Victorian values of the player’s faction. What do you do?



Fishpeople interactions are especially complex because they do form a human-recognized political body with which there are protocols and lines of communication, nor do they have much notion or care for human values.

Of course, each Faction has unique considerations.

Foreign nations seem straightforward because relations are defined by treaty status with Novorus, the Republique, and Stahlmark. Eventually however the political interests of the Clockwork Empires may not quite align with the player’s goals, so we must find ways for the player be “at war, but friendly” or “peaceful, but hostile”. (- Because it’s the instability of weird political situations where everyone is pretending to be one thing but doing another that makes for amazing narrative setups and/or explosions!)


Then there are Certain Eldritch Things Which Must Not Be Named that may be totally unconcerned with human politics. But human politics are very concerned with tapping the power of Certain Eldritch Things, to say nothing of cults that may form with the goal of worshiping/summoning one or another Thing. Or maybe just partying. Cults, right?


Back to Fishpeople and tying it all together: Human will come into play because your NCO might support a policy of war rather than one of denial, a romantic Poet may propose peace because war is so terrible, while the Vicar would be content to try to pretend they don’t exist at all. With this, the official policy the player chooses toward Fishpeople can be questioned – and changed – because it conflicts with the personality of certain colonists. This ties together fishpeople, global policies, and personality traits.

Making these game systems all inform and interact with one another is really exciting because it sets up great chains of causality through the simulation, over to the player, then back into the simulation!

We’ll be adding more faction & event content (alongside systems upgrades & things we’re not even talking about yet of course) in upcoming patches.


5 Responses to “Political Change Through Faction Crises”

  1. Thomas says:

    In the past few games i’ve enjoyed an uneasy peace amongst the fishpeople, even though they still seem to have an aversion to my crops for some reason.
    They won’t attack my colonists, but i’ll get the occasional message that they’ve destroyed a crop or two.
    Thankfully I was knee deep in pickled fungus and berries when it happened, so I didn’t think much of it.
    Perhaps they just really, really don’t like cabbage.

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  2. Wootah says:

    Wait, so he exploded first and the fishpeople did a service to the kingdom by eating the corpse? Sounds like they should have gotten a medal.

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  3. Sapphire Crook says:

    Of course Eldritch Horrors are concerned with human politics.
    How else will they completely eradicate all of cabbage kind!?

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  4. Emerson Lei says:

    Please consider this glitch: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=459620988

    There is a citizen stuck in a module in a church. It happens quite often. The citizen will either starve to death and turn into a murderer or get unstuck somehow.

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