To the Foreign Office!

Our event framework has been in need of enhancement for a while. It is a fantastic framework, but as we add more content we realized that there are a few things we are using it for that are better implemented using some additional systems. Specifically, how players are allowed to interact with different factions and giving the player tools to change their standing with those factions. We wanted to give players a physical control point for all of this (rather than having to use randomly timed events as a control point) so we’ve implemented the Foreign Office.

From a 3x Foreign Office diplo rush attempt: installing cots for more efficient bureaucracy crunch-time.

From a 3x Foreign Office diplo rush attempt: installing cots for more efficient bureaucracy crunch-time.

The Foreign Office is where the player can actually change how other (human) factions feel about them by employing work crews who toil away filling out forms for various requisitions, award applications, and bureaucratic minutiae in order to generate large enough volumes of paperwork to complete diplomatic missions. Just like in real life. With the Bandits, this might be requesting/forging official papers, intercepting trade convoy information and giving it to them in exchange for improved standing, or setting up an uneasy truce. For dealing with the Empire, we already have the prestige system which was intended to be used like this in the first place, so we’re pushing the prestige/favour content into one filing cabinet of the Foreign Office.

Some details!

  • Diplomacy points are specific to a given faction
  • They have a maximum pool size dependent on the skill of the bureaucrat in charge
  • And they are spent to undertake “diplomatic missions” which might raise your standing to enable a truce, or might lower it by asking for favors.
  • The office may only be generating points for one faction at a time, and if players switch the foreign office to generate Diplomacy Points for a different faction, they’ll lose previously saved up points. (If you want to generate Diplomacy Points for more factions, you could always build more foreign offices.)
  • The office generates three new random missions every day, and players can choose whether to do any number of them or simply save their Diplomacy Points for the next day. (Given the maximum pool size though, it will be more efficient to spend them periodically.)
  • The missions will indicate how many Diplomacy Points they cost, a description of how they work, and any extra effects (e.g. doing some missions for some factions might lower your standing with other factions)

The event system will be used for all of this, but we’ve broken it up just a bit and provided a new access point. What we call recurring passive events (scripts with either no dialogue box or just an “Okay” button) and recurring active events (dialogue events with a player choice) will still happen, and they’ll be largely contingent on the player’s standing with a faction.

Yes yes, this paperwork is all quite jolly.

Yes yes, this paperwork is all quite jolly.

For example, the Bandits will raid you if they don’t like you and the Empire will become offended if you get too close with the Bandits.

We’re also planning on reducing the scope of the current globally accessible “Factions” window a little. This change isn’t live yet, but we will be making it smaller and including only the list of factions players have encountered or are already known to them, along with their current standing with that group. If players have built a foreign office, the window will provide a link to the foreign office window. If not, it will suggest players build one if they want to change their standing with the foreign groups.

Posted in Clockwork Empires | Tagged , , , , ,

8 Responses to “To the Foreign Office!”

  1. Ninety-Three says:

    Hm, is this going to be the sort of system where standing degenerates with time, or will players be able to make all the unfriendly factions (bandits, foreigners, fishpeople [do fishpeople have paperwork]) neutral and leave them there?

    { reply }
    • We’ll see. If we find players are just finding a stable solution, grinding that, and then ignoring it, we’ll introduce some chaos somewhere.

      I suspect that just by having players lose standing with some factions just by working with others, as well as having random events that can affect standing, that stable solutions will be very difficult at best.

      { reply }
  2. Stefan Bauer says:

    Hmm. Sounds exciting, and will make the diplomacy aspect more choice-driven. Currently, I admit I’ve been entirely reactive with faction related stuff, which usually results in me being as nice as possible to everyone because otherwise my only soldier will die.

    { reply }
  3. Poklamez says:

    I’m thoroughly disappointed with the destitute of tags you’ve delivered this week.

    { reply }
  4. AzraelDR says:

    I hope the module will eventually look like a nice table as rendered in the concept art. While ledger stands fit workshops, a proper table is better able to convey the glory of a bureaucrat sitting on his ass and doing rote paperwork.

    { reply }
  5. Bropocalypse says:

    I hope this means we can unite the bandits and rebel against the empire

    { reply }
  6. Lord Herman says:

    In the caption of the first image, I misread ‘cots’ as ‘cats’. I’m not sure if I should be disappointed now.

    { reply }

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