Work has continued on the project which may turn out to be Shadows++, a half-sequel, taking as much as possible from the original while expanding in the directions I thought the original was lacking.
The focus is on politics. Hopefully that was everyone's favourite part, because it's now fairly advanced. The basic gameplay concept is as follows:
The political game revolves around "Social circles". These are the people you can interact with. They themselves will have their own social circles, which probably have different people in them. Get invited to the right balls, feasts or hunts and you may get a chance to mingle with others, and so can temporarily add them to your social circle. Maintain the relationships you need.
Your aim, as usual, is to rise from the bottom to the top of the society. To do this, you require allies. Promotion is now voted on, so you need high-ranking political allies who can propose your promotion, then vote on it. That means political donations to the right people, to get them into your social circle for a few turns. Then maybe invite them to your social activity, to boost your relationship, or to meet their spouse, who could be a useful secondary channel to them. Cash opens doors, but is in limited supply.
Cash itself is generated over time, but the society votes to balance who gets what. A lord whose city specialises in fishing might propose to increase the revenue from all fishing economies, at the detriment of those who specialise in mining. The aim is for every economic vote to need to propose a set of winners and a set of losers, creating allies and enemies as people are pleased or displeased by voting issues and those who voted for them. Again, powerful allies are useful to get your issues paid attention to, and you'll have natural allies in the upper ranks, those who share your economic interests.
Deception and interpersonal actions are how you compete with the higher-ranking lords who can easily outspend you. Increasing existing hatreds can be a good choice, as can be deliberately polarising the lords around a particular issue or person, forming dislikes where none existed before.
Information comes into play through discovering who is friends with whom, and who is merely pretending. You may discover information through talking at parties, or through paying people close to them. Possibly the duke's advisor actually hates him, but the duke doesn't realise this. If so, that presents an attack vector. Pay the advisor to publicly shame the duke and his prestige will drop, weakening him for a time. Do this at the right time and you may swing a vote in your favour.
The ultimate weapon is the plot. These are crimes committed against people during activities. They are risky, as they produce evidence which could be discovered by others, but allow you to suddenly crippled a person's political power, or even murder them. Once performed, plots are usually known to everyone, and the NPCs will start to form their own hypotheses as to who is responsible. If they have a target, they may start their own plots to find evidence to prove to the world who was guilty.
This forms the basis for the rumour system, as you can start rumours based on crimes, blaming particular individuals. If an NPC is willing to believe this claim (based on their own probability assessments of the guilty parties), and likes you more than they like them, you may well get a target blamed for a crime they didn't commit.
So. That's a rough overview of the gameplay. It's obvious very complicated, and I can neither guarantee that it's A) Possible, B) Fun. Maybe it's just too complicated to be fun. Maybe I won't be able to balance it. As it stands, the AI exists, they host activites, vote on matters, occasionally perform plots, hire advisors and develop deep hatreds of one another over minor economic upsets. The UI is slowly coming together, and a very rough first playable version might arrive sometime soonish. Assuming nothing unexpected occurs, which of course it might.
Who knows? Maybe this'll be good. Maybe it won't. Only time will tell.