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.