I’m currently busy working on the second half of Chapter 2 of Lords of Infinity right now. Hopefully that will be done by this time next month.
In the meantime, I am still busy working on (one of the iterations of) Chapter 2 of Lords of Infinity.
I’d just like to let everyone know that I am now well into working on Lords of Infinity, so these updates are going to get a lot shorter.
First of all: happy New Year.
Secondly: some news.
This month, I’ve started working on the start of Chapter 1 of Lords of Infinity, as well as a lot of the underlying infrastructure of the stats and reference screens. While the old structure worked well for Sabres of Infinity and Guns of Infinity, Lords of Infinity‘s shift to civilian life means the presentation of certain types of information (like unit stats) will become more or less irrelevant, while previously ignored information (like the status of the
Dragoon Officer’s Baron’s estates) will become considerably more important. As a result, I’ve been working a great deal on finding a way to present all this new information in a fashion consistent with the rest of the setting, and I’ll probably continue refining that system until release.
In other news, it’s the second week of the month, so new updates for A Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea and An Adventurer’s Guide to the Fledgling Realms are now publicly available. As usual, these articles were made possible by my supporters on Patreon, so if you’d like to see more, feel free to become a backer.
I was going to write about the political factions within the Tierran Cortes for this month’s blog post, but as it turns out, my supporters on Patreon voted for an article on the exact same topic.
As a result, you can find that article as the latest installment of A Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea, which is now up alongside this month’s entry in An Adventurer’s Guide to the Fledgling Realms.
This month, I’m going to be talking about one of the subplots in in Lords of Infinity: the Army Reform Commission. Unlike the Budget Crisis, participation in this subplot is more or less optional: it’ll run its course whether or not the player chooses to intervene in it. However, this subplot may well have widespread long-term effects. At some point later in the series, the player may find themselves wishing they’d taken the opportunity when they had the chance.
The King’s Army went to war in Antar as a more or less entirely untested force. Its institutions and regulations were either adopted from those of the Takaran Richshyr, or holdovers from the conflicts which unified Tierra a century before. It was an army built on assumptions which the experience of the Dozen Years War have often proven inaccurate, misguided, or downright harmful. The officers who suffered the inadequacy of the old system returned from Antar with a long list of lessons learned, and an even longer list of ideas for how a better, more effective army might be trained, equipped, organised and led. Having witnessed some of the shortcomings of his army firsthand, King Miguel has ordered the creation of a Royal Commission made up of veteran officers to suggest changes to the King’s Army, and to ensure that the hard lessons learned in wartime are not forgotten in peace.
The Army Reform Commission is not going to be an easy body to join. Getting in might mean currying favour with Grenadier Square, or leaning on the friendship of those with the influence to get you a seat on the Commission. If the Dragoon Officer managed to make the right friends within the army, or has earn enough of a reputation as a tactician or a fighting officer, then they might have a shot. Alternatively, they could try ingratiating themselves with one of the political players in the Cortes powerful enough to influence who gets to sit on the Commission. That being said, such methods will always carry a price, one which the Dragoon Officer might not be willing to pay.
If the Dragoon Officer is able to get a seat on the Commission, they then have a whole new set of issues to deal with. Not every officer who served in Antar had the same experiences, and not every one of them came to the same conclusions. In short, there is a split within the Commission itself over which direction the Commission should take:
The so-called “Infantry School” are members of the Commission who want to focus on organisation and logistics. Although matters of supply and administration might seem “boring” to some, they are the foundation of a functioning army. Infantry School proponents want to overhaul the ordinance board, create a dedicated logistics branch, institute larger permanent formations, and subject junior officers to standardised training. In short, they want to make the King’s Army a better supplied, and better organised force, with an emphasis on a more centralised command structure.
The commissioners belong to the “Cavalry School”are proponents reforming and refining the “sharp end” of the King’s Army. They want an overhaul of the manual of arms, and a revision of drill and tactics from the battalion level down. Furthermore, Cavalry School proponents want a more permanent establishment of special purpose units (like the Experimental Corps of Riflemen) and an increase in the authority given to company/troop and battalion/squadron level officers to operate. The result would be a more decentralised army, composed of more independent units with more flexible tactics and commanded by officers with more freedom to respond quickly.
The terms are misnomers, of course. There are Infantry School proponents from the cavalry, and Cavalry School proponents who are infantry officers. However, the fact remains that if the Dragoon Officer joins the Army Reform Commision, they’ll have to choose a side to support, or try to walk the line between them.
The more astute readers among you might have noticed that most of the reforms advocated by the Infantry School and Cavalry School aren’t really mutually exclusive. A better supply infrastructure doesn’t mean that there can’t be a new manual of arms. Perhaps you’re thinking “why not both”?
That brings us to the last complication involved: the Army Reform Commission may have the King’s backing, but that doesn’t mean the Cortes has the political will to turn the Commission’s report into action. Tierra has just fought a long, expensive, and bloody war, and it has neither the resources or the inclination to spend a large amount of money overhauling its army. Not only will the members of the Commission need to lobby hard to get the Cortes to even consider funding their suggested reforms, but they’ll need to deliver a list of suggestions which enough of the Lords of the Cortes can be convinced to vote for. Given Tierra’s rolling budget crisis, that more or less means that the more expensive any list of reforms is going to be to implement, the harder it’ll be to get the funding for it.
If the Dragoon Officer manages to get a place on the Commission, the player will be able to make decisions regarding what reforms to back and what reforms to kill. But even if the player chooses other priorities, the Commission will still run its course, the decisions made will determine the shape of the Tierran Army in the years ahead. If Tierra goes to war again and the Dragoon Officer is recalled to service, then such matters may mean the difference between life and death.
P.S. I know, I know, I promised Cortes factions this month, but I wanted to get this one out of the way for more context. Next month, I swear.
As usual, new installments of A Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea and An Adventurer’s Guide to the Fledgling Realms are now up, both funded by my supporters on Patreon. If you want to see more of this kind of content, feel free to donate. Patrons get early access, and the ability to decide what I write for next month at higher tiers.
Someone Who Is Good at the Economy Please Help Me, My Kingdom is Dying: The Budget Crisis in Lords of Infinity
Today I’d like to talk about one of the central elements of Lords of Infinity‘s plot: the Budget Crisis.
As the war with Antar ends and the Unified Kingdom of Tierra becomes reacquainted with a peace it hasn’t seen in more than a decade, the crown finds itself in an exceedingly precarious financial situation. Historically, the Rendower monarchs (with the exception of Edmund II) have been very thrifty rulers and their governments have followed suit, maintaining a carefully hoarded surplus to ensure that there is always cash on hand in the case of an emergency. This was the case in 601, when the League of Antar declared war. Unfortunately, three factors meant that this accumulated reserve quickly disappeared.
First of all, there was the fact that Tierra has trouble feeding itself, even at the best of times. This meant that traditionally, Tierra imported grain from Antar. Since this was no longer an option, grain had to be imported from Kian and Takaran merchants, who took advantage by raising their prices. To keep the population fed, the crown issued grain subsidies to keep the cost of bread affordable, which rapidly became a major expense.
Secondly, there was the simple fact that the war was ruinously expensive (as wars tend to be). Weapons, uniforms, supplies, and those needed to make, transport, and fight with them were all paid for at the expense of the crown. Every battle meant enormous sums of money had to be spent to replace lost equipment and fighting men. While individual soldiers of the King’s army could get rich off plundering Southern Antar, the King’s government got nothing.
Lastly, there was the matter of the debt that Tierra began to accumulate when its currency reserves ran out. To keep the war going, Tierra needed to borrow. A lot of this money came from Tierran banks, but a vast portion of it came from overseas. Only Kian and Takaran banks could lend the amount of money the crown needed, and neither the Kian nor the Takarans had any confidence that Tierra would survive a war with its larger, more populous neighbour. That meant the interest rates these overseas banking houses offered were far higher than normal, under the expectation that Unified Kingdom might not even exist to pay them before long. While this prediction was proven wrong, the debt, and the need to service it, remains.
With the war over, one of those expenses is gone: the King’s army has been reduced to its peacetime strength, with officers placed on half-pay and houseguard regiments being released from royal service. However, the crown still has to bear the cost of servicing the war debt and the grain subsidies (Antar isn’t going to be exporting much grain to Tierra any time soon), something which it can only really do with the help of war taxes which are only growing more and more unpopular by the day, especially now that the war they were purportedly paying for is over.
The upshot of this is that the Crown is in between a rock and a hard place. To service the debt and keep the people fed, the Exchequer needs to keep enough money coming in by maintaining war taxes. However, maintaining these taxes will invariably increase discontent, drive more Tierrans into poverty or personal bankruptcy, and possibly damage the Unified Kingdom’s economy in the long run. Alternatively, if the Crown scraps the war taxes, Tierra will be forced to declare state bankruptcy, not only destabilising the Tierran economy, but also giving the Kian and Takarans very good reasons to intervene diplomatically, economically, or militarily.
Next month, I’ll be talking about the political factions currently dominating the Cortes, and what (if anything) they plan to do to dig Tierra out of the hole it’s gotten itself into.
This month’s installments of A Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea and An Adventurer’s Guide to the Fledgling Realms are now up. These worldbuilding articles are funded by my Patreon, so If you’d like to see more of this sort of content, then please feel free to contribute. Backers also get benefits like early access, and the ability to vote on the topics of future articles.