In the meantime, I am still busy working on (one of the iterations of) Chapter 2 of Lords of Infinity.
Tag Archives: Guns 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.
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 ordnance 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 belonging to the “Cavalry School”are proponents of 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.
I’ve been talking to the folks at Choice of Games over the past few weeks, and it looks like they’re in favour of releasing HMS Foraker as an ad-supported title on their main catalogue.
What does this mean? First of all, it means HMS Foraker will be getting a general release as a free-to-play title (with in-app purchases to remove ads). More importantly to me this also means that the little side-project that I’d more or less started on a whim will be an official part of the world, and “Choice of Broadsides canon”, which is something I’m pretty proud of. Choice of Broadsides was the first CoG IF I ever played way back in 2011, and it’s what got me thinking about the potential of interactive fiction in the first place, so to have my own writing considered good enough to add to its continuity is a bit of an honour.
I’m looking forward to seeing this one released. Even though it’s only a fraction of the size of some of my other titles, it’s still got a few new and interesting mechanics I’ve been wanting to test out, along with some of my most polished writing and design work yet.
In other news, new installments of A Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea and An Adventurer’s Guide to the Fledgling Realms are up. As usual, my worldbuilding articles are funded by my Patreon supporters. If you want to see more of this sort of stuff, you can donate to my Patreon here.
As some of you may know, I’ve been spending much of my time these past few weeks planning out the basic structure of Lords of Infinity. At this point, the basic shape of the first half of the story has more or less solidified. Today I’d like to share with you how this part of Lords of Infinity might play out.
Lords of Infinity starts with the Dragoon Officer, your main character, being inducted into his status as a peer of the Unified Kingdom. Before the King and the Cortes, he puts his hand on Pactmaker (the royal sword of state) repeats the oath of fealty to the King, and is officially acknowledged as the rightful holder of the title he inherited from his father at the end of Guns of Infinity. This carries with it two major implications:
The Dragoon Officer is now a Lord of the Cortes.
As a peer of the realm, the Dragoon Officer now serves as a member of the Cortes, the legislative body of the Unified Kingdom’s royal government. As such, he now holds a significant amount of influence over the way the Unified Kingdom deals with the political fallout of the Dozen Years’ War, and how it makes sense of its new position in the Infinite Sea.
The Dragoon Officer is now a Landed Aristocrat.
As a Baron of the Unified Kingdom, the Dragoon Officer now has his own fief to maintain, grounds to upkeep, and tenants to placate or antagonise. While the Barony provides an income, its infrastructure is decrepit, and the family manor itself is in a state of extreme disrepair. The plundered wealth that the Dragoon Officer might have brought back from Antar might be enough to restore the Barony to level of profitability and improve the lives of those who live upon it, if spent wisely.
These two developments have a lot of common themes. Both deal with the aftermath of the Dozen Years’ War on a personal and a national level. Both delve deeper into the structures and relationships which underpin Tierran society, and they both examine the responsibilities and powers of a member of the Tierran aristocracy. However, the focal points of these two different plot threads are far separate from each other, both in senses of tone and geography. As a result, I’ve made the decision to split the first half of Lords of Infinity into two separate plot threads. After the prologue (when the Dragoon Officer is introduced to his duties as a Lord of the Cortes) and the first chapter (when he returns to his ancestral estate for the first time in over a decade), the player will have a choice to remain on the estate, or to establish himself in Aetoria, the Tierran capital.
In the former case, the player will have a lot more opportunity to develop the Dragoon Officer’s personal holdings, and build a relationship with the tenants living on his land. In the latter case, a presence in the Capital means more opportunities to get involved not only with Cortes politics, but to wield influence in the circles of power, making influential friends and enemies within the various factions quietly struggling over the soul of a Unified Kingdom on the brink of momentous change. Both options will have their advantages and disadvantages. Some characters will be easier to find and interact with in the city than in the country, and vice-versa. A Dragoon Officer who remains on his estate would be able to build relationships with his neighbours and tenants, refurbish his manor, or work to make his fief more economically viable, leading to increased revenue and more influence on a local scale. Meanwhile, a Dragoon Officer who chooses the Capital could ally themselves with powerful figures like the Duke of Wulfram and Princess Isobel (the King’s younger sister), or make their experiences at war heard by joining a commission to reform the King’s Army.
In either case, the decision which the player chooses at the end of chapter one can’t be undone, but it can be walked back from. At certain points, a player can choose to have the Dragoon Officer “switch paths”, either heading to the Capital with an intent to become a political player, or going home and writing off a political career as a lost cause. Doing so is a viable decision, but this too, comes with a price. As for what that price is, and what it entails, well… you’ll see.