Version 6: Awareness Grows

Version 6 is now out, in unstable form. Save/Load seems to work, but was unstable for unidentified reasons, so be warned.

In this version, we introduce concepts from the old version, awareness and world panic. These allow the nobles to respond to your actions in a far more pro-active and co-ordinated fashion.

NPCs now have a degree of 'awareness' of the dark, which is how much they realise that their world is under threat. The entirely of human civilisation has its own 'awareness', in the form of 'World Panic'. This is how obvious it is that the world is under threat, and how far the nobles will go to save themselves. As you spend power or ruin cities the world panic will increase, and nobles with awareness can begin taking actions.

Awareness can be tracked with a new map view (replacing information map view), giving you an idea of where the threats are on the board, and who needs stopping.

Actions are multi-turn steps individual NPCs can take to try to save their world. The most basic is writing to other NPCs warning them, to increase their awareness in turn. They can also perform investigations, to try to uncover the enthralled if they are nearby, and if they have access to a library they can perform research, to increase their awareness in response to world panic. Research runs the risk of driving them insane, as they discover the terrible truth of your dark power. These feel nice and Lovecraftian, investigators and forbidden knowledge, and also serve to give the NPCs a bit more life. You can disrupt their progress to slow the rate of awareness, but towards the mid-end game they should begin to be co-ordinated and mostly aware. Once they are, and world panic is high enough, they will attempt to form alliances to stop you, by grouping together with nations they believe do not contain enshadowed nobles. They could, of course, be wrong, and you could find your enthralled being the leader of the alliance to stop the darkness.

This system needs testing, and we'd be glad to receive any feedback you may provide. In future versions, hopefully more actions can be added, and the individual capabilities of nobles increased, giving them more complexity and individuality.

This feature is also our first "complexity feature", which are able to be disabled. If you don't want the added headache of dealing with world panic and nobles writing letters all the time. The awareness system defaults to off, so be sure to turn it on at map gen if you want to experience the new feature.

If not, the major change is a nicer UI, and some new sounds, as well as togglable edge scrolling and a few bugfixes (voting effect view was bugged and didn't refresh enough).

We're also now looking into what to add for Version 7. Agents, units on the map which can perform actions and infiltrate societies, are a possibility, although they were tried before and didn't work as hoped. New Names, adding new powers and ways to play are certainly possible, and may be able to interact with the new awareness system in interesting ways. We could also expand societies a bit, giving different societies different political structures. All societies are currently elective monarchies, but we might rename these to be republics, and have a true monarchy, with no elections, only civil wars, as well as introduce different political structures. Voting may also need a change, with a full screen dedicated to trading liking for votes in a more complex way, allowing for faster voting (better NPC response rates) and so allowing more varied types of vote, so for example the people can respond to being invaded by gathering all the nobles and voting on a response (surrender, defend only, counter-attack, request aid from neighboring nation (which would trigger a vote in that nation)...).

Anyway, hope you enjoy this new version, let us know what you think.

Files 30 MB
Apr 23, 2020 47 MB
Apr 23, 2020

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(1 edit)

NICE! Thx for update!

I got a (maybe, possibly, definitely) good idea about agents. Have them be neutral. By that i mean, there shouldn't be 'your' agents but rather neutral agents that act based on their goal and interests. Etc: Merchants and Merchant guilds, their goal is to make money, they do that by visiting cities with high prosperity, and they can't revisit the last X cities they've alredy visited thus forcing them to make long or roundabout trade routes. The guilds could be a 'nation' of merchants that can accept loan requests from nobles, have a doge or a council that decides or votes, it can choose to embargo a nation / province / city so its merchants aren't allowed to get in, it has a separate treasury from its merchants so it has to tax them, which can mean low/high taxes affect the possibility of merchants banding together and leaving their guild to found a new one etc. Or you can have it be location based where instead of merchants you only have guilds that expand their influence. This 'neutral agents' system allows for ANY profession to be added. You could also have these agents be a separate pool from noble characters and allow something like 1 enthralled noble and several agents or guilds. Thoughts?

Edit: Further examples: assassins, (light/dark)priests, cults, barbarians?, mercenaries.

Maybe agents could come in neutral/light/dark varieties. Each "Agent" type representing an archetype like nyotas described. (merchant/barabarian/dark cultist/light worker, etc.) And of course you as the player can use Power to corrupt or otherwise manipulate them...and perhaps take direct control if you corrupt them far enough into your evil clutches. (presumably easier to gain control over dark cultist types)

I'd definitely like some agents (maybe 1 to 3) to be under the player's direct control. Give the player something to click and move each turn, to reduce the number of "just hit end turn" turns.

I agree it would be very reasonable to have all agents already exist on the map, and the player to corrupt/take-control-of the agents they want, like they do with enthralling nobles. It may allow agents to have some pre-existing histories (connection to societies, likings and disliking with established nobles).

As I mentioned to nyotas, things will take a bit, and I'll need to see what works for a first version. Hopefully many versions can expand on this, and allow the noble-enthralled and the agent-enthralled to work together to make both as exciting to play with as possible.

Thanks to both of you for your suggestions though, and feedback on what the playerbase would like to see. Good to have a direction to follow.

I like the idea of neutral agents, but would still want the player to have their own.

A core part of the agents is just giving the players more to do, more stuff while waiting for power to accumulate or for the next key election to arrive. I think there's a lot of room for agents to do stuff which the enthralled noble couldn't (wandering off into the wilderness to dig up artefacts, escaping from pursuing investigators, getting involved in a nation's politics in a weak but temporary way and then moving on once the necessary damage is done...).

That said, neutral merchants sound like a good idea. I like the idea of the world being very alive, and having stuff going on all the time, regardless of whether the player is involved or not. Gotta keep the numbers low enough that it looks alive, but still understandable. Shouldn't look like an ant colony with a million units moving across every location every turn. Neutrals could then be manipulated to serve the player's interest, such as by infecting them with a disease and allowing them to spread it, or by planting evidence on them and having the investigators chase them instead of the player's agents.

I'll see what we can get for this version. There needs to be a lot of code changes to allow agents, so it may take a while. I've been working on the voting since then, adding a whole new screen to allow the player to negotiate for vote switching using liking (possibly liking of an agent) or power. Should allow voting to be smoother for the player to follow, allow agents to get involved in politics in a small way, and speed up the voting. Voting was taking so long that societies couldn't do anything because they were holding elections nearly 60% of the time.

But yes. Agents are a good idea we'll try to get in, and neutral agents sound like an interesting idea to explore.