Introducing Assassinations: An expansion to Intra/Inter-Kingdom dynamics, Traits, Relationships, Roguery, Charm, and more!

Currently viewing this thread:

Caveat: Since this suggestion touches multiple areas (Quests, Scenes, Kingdom, etc.) I put it in the general Single player suggestions.

Caveat 2: This will be a long one, you should grab a tea or an IPA!

Tl;dr = I would like both an expansion of the Roguery skill tree and an expansion of intra-Kingdom/Player-Lord Relationship, give meaning to Traits, expansion to add Quests / functionality to assassinate Lords for either the Players’/A Lord’s/Both in-game dynamics.

I was toying around with console commands and the “campaign.kill_lord” option showed a pretty cool (IMHO) text option and Encyclopedia option. In the in-game log, when used, the command shows that the lord was “Murdered”, and the encyclopedia entry notes that the Lord was assassinated. I am not sure if this is intentional to differentiate console commands, cut content, or proof of some future development but the suggestion in multi-layered.

Currently, outside of convincing other lords to join your Kingdom (this is heavily biased towards gold & Charm) intra-Kingdom chances for succession upon a ruler’s death or to heighten the chance of being awarded a fief, relationships with Lords do not mean much. There is enough development to show breakdowns between “Enemies” and “Friends” and that at least for Friends, there is meaning enough there to negatively impact the player regarding taking (seemingly random) relationship penalties when executing other lords.

I would likely to suggest another layer of delving into relationships and intra-Kingdom dynamics, as well as giving meanings to Traits and expanding Roguery, by introducing Assassination missions. At a high level, if a Ruling Clan has drastically low relationship with a clan in their own Kingdom or in another, they can have a quest available that will ask the Player to Assassinate the other lord. I imagine the dynamics would work something like the following.

Due to voting or some other future functionality (insults, in-kingdom subterfuge, losing a fief, losing a battle, AI executions, or hardcoded relationship hits), a ruling lord may incur negative relationship with a clan leader in their own kingdom. At a specified threshold (maybe -80 or -90, so it is not so frequent) they will want that other lord “dealt with” and if a player has a specific Trait or roguery skill (or maybe no prerequisites at all) they will ask the Player to assassinate the other lord. This can be extended to out-of-Kingdom missions but only during wartime.

Right now, the mechanics for sneaking into a Town is only applicable during war, and there is only one associated Roguery perk to increase the chance of success, I do not use it myself given you are more likely to be arrested than anything else. Outside of war, you do not need to “sneak” anywhere, you can simply bribe your war into a Keep – early game you don’t do this much but mid/late game when you’re rolling in cash you will probably do so without issue. This leads to the first area of expansion – giving more reason to “Sneak in” and putting heavier weight on success given your Roguery (and maybe Charm) skills.

I could see it play out that the ideal mission success is that you sneak into a town (passing a Roguery or Charm check) and sneak into the Keep as well (same checks) and there is another percentage of catching the Lord on their own given the time of day. Provided you pass all the checks, you initiate combat in your “civilian clothes” and if you kill the target, you will just need to pass one last Roguery / Charm check to break out. Given all the “Rolls” – it would behoove the player to make sure they have remarkably high Roguery and Charm skills (and ample gold) to achieve success.

Any failure throughout will result in your being attacked by guards, like how it was in Warband when you initiated a Prison Break or failed to sneak in, that should be a default action. A “critical failure” will result in your being arrested. When getting into the Keep, there is a chance to “wake up the palace guard” and then you will have to fight all the guards plus the initial target will get away.

With these variable failures, you will fail the quest, and take negative relationship with the quest giver, the target lord and their clan, and likely random -10 relationship with anyone they are friends with. You should also take negative relationship hits with all non-Crime Boss notables and spike your criminality. That lays the groundwork for future development of this feature where a high criminality / botched assassination attempts can lead to you being immediately executed by the other lord depending on their traits and relationship.

The flipside to this is that you can warn the target of the attempt, which will of course net you a ton of negative relationship with the ruler (and perhaps an immediate vote to be kicked out, since that functionality exists) and a ton of relationship gain with the target and it should trigger an immediate Rebellion against the Kingdom. The optimal design for this would be you are immediately kicked out and allied with this “Rebellion” Kingdom – the idea being is someone going to take your word or the Emperor/Empress/Khan’s word on the ordeal? There is also future synergy here for expansion if Civil Wars / Succession Wars are ever added – if you have great relationship with a bunch of other lords it should trigger a separatism event where the Kingdom will immediately go into open Rebellion and form a new kingdom for everyone who allies with you.

The above example can also trigger if you fail the mission, but I think the Player should be able to use Roguery / Charm to lie and then they will only take negative relationship with the quest-giver and no one else. To add some meaning to Traits, depending on which Trait the target has determines some other minor outcomes. If they have a bunch of negative traits, then everyone should be happy that “evil bastard” is dead. If they are Valorous or Merciful, then everyone should hate the Player even more (as well as the Quest giver) as they are a good person and likely not needing to meet such a brutal end.

As far as targets outside of the Kingdom, this can be less “Assassination” (unless a player wants to) and more of a specialized Raid w/ its own Scenes (the Assassination should have its own scene in an “antechamber” of some sort). In this case, the Player does not need to rely so much on Roguery / Charm and can instead lead a “sortie” with similar mechanics to the Hideout Raids, you pick 10 (or 11, if you have the Small Unit Tactics perk), and can fight through various stages – such as taking over a gatehouse, breaking into the Keep, and killing the target. It would be best for the Player to use a combination of brute force and subterfuge (via Roguery / Charm) to get into striking distance unless they risk dying, getting captured, and failing the quest. That said – if they player decides to “go kinetic” and lead a direct-action mission – they should take negative relationship with the target’s clan and any other Lords who are in the town.

Another way to add more layers to this is to not require the player to sneak in somewhere to kill a Lord, but they can do it out in the open, however only during night. While there is a much lower risk of being caught / killed / triggering Rebellions / failing the mission – there should still be some nuances. For one, it would be nice to a have a custom scene akin to the “Caravan Ambush” mission to the “siege camp” in the background of a siege scene. You start on the outside and you are essentially ambushing the target. The catch here is that if a single enemy can get away – they alert everyone and you still fail the mission, even if the target is dead.

That sort of weighting will make the Player have to consider what their approach is. For a Charm/Trade/Roguery heavy playthrough I may decide to sneak in and execute the “wet works” – but if I am going combat heavy and have a ton of T5/T6 troops in mid/late-game, I may decide to spring a trap for the lord. This can expand to better dialogue options too and let you indiscriminately kill Lords without declaring war on their entire faction.

And thus, leads us to the end, being that Bannerlord is a sandbox, the Player should be able to do these even without the Quest. When you initiate the dialogue option to “deliver your demands” you should be able to choose a very corny dialogue line like “prepare to meet you end, dog!” when the dialogue happens at night, and be able to kill the lord straight up. I think to prevent Players from cheesing wars by systematically running direct action missions like it’s 2005 and you’re on an ODA in Iraq (#iykyk) and killing every damn Lord, you should only be able to do this with a Perk (maybe at 150 Roguery?) and a Trait. You can get the Trait from successfully carrying out an Assassination, from being an evil bastard (maybe doing 10 – 20 successful Raids / Devastations) or have an “evil” option at character creation to get it (at cost of sacrificing FPs/skill points).

While a lot of this will require tons of work across Art, Scenes Development, Quests, Dialog (and even Music, unless that’s in the Art department?) and some of it is a bit extreme, I think it will add a level of immersion to a ton of elements that already exist and give reasons to having them. Some tertiary ideas to round this out is that Lord deaths should play a part in peace-time calculations. Perhaps a constant of 0.5% or 1% extra chance to request peace per Lord death. Successful missions should award the player A LOT – given how hard it is to do, and how many other elements need to be satisfied, the Player should immediately get at least one of the target lord’s Fiefs and at least a portion of their wealth or some higher T6 Armor. This gives you more reasons to do it, for the “out of kingdom” / “because I feel like it” – that shouldn’t happen.

Sorry for the long post, hopefully some of this will be considered, there is so much functionality that exists in this game to open the way to something like this without breaking the action/RPG flow!
 
Had some more thoughts to expand this idea, didn’t want to go through the tedium (I am lazy, TBH) to expand it in the main most so I will add it here.

Some ideas of the chances of success of an assassination mission:

  • Flat 50% rate failure of sneaking into the town – you can make a bribe that is equal to 10 X Strength (Garrison + Militia) total or 2 X the Prosperity (whichever is more) to get in at 100%. I think every roguery point above 75 should add 0.25% chance the enter without incident – so you will have 100% chance of entering at 275 Roguery
  • Flat 60% (or 70%) rate failure of sneaking into the keep. Bribes should be at 20 X Strength or Prosperity (again, whichever is more – that would be 80K on a 4000 prosperity town) – and if the owner of the Fief has a Merciful Trait or something similar, you shouldn’t be able to bribe your way in – or it should incur something more. With that, a 0.1% chance of success should be added for every point of Roguery starting at 0. That gives you a 32.5% of failure at 275 Roguery if the flat rate is 60%. I think it should be pretty hard – but not TOO hard. I am not attached to these numbers, they can be adjusted down for both criteria.
  • There should be a 2.5 - 5% chance to trigger an “alert the palace guard” event even if you make it into the Keep to assassinate someone.
  • Roguery experience gains need to be tweaked – doing a dedicated roguery playthrough it is hard to surpass 100 skill even with a ton of FPs + Attributes invested. I think roguery exp should be gained at either 5x or 10x the sell price of a troop. This way the “Slave Trader” perk is worth taking even more. I do not have an data on sell prices but something needs to be done to increase the experience
  • For out-of-Town ambushes, I feel some more attention to Tactics should be given. I think there needs to be a 30 – 40% flat rate of failure, which degrades by 0.25% per level of Tactics. At higher levels you will negate the chance of failure
  • Failed out-of-Town ambushes / assassination attempts should give you -60 with the target and their Clan, -30 with their Ruler (if out-of-Mission), and the negative trait and probably -10 to -20 with any of their friends
  • Likewise to Roguery, Tactics needs to be adjusted to get more EXP. I think any Clan parties should generate passive Tactics exp + successful auto-calcs and also increase the passive EXP you get for winning battles / sieges. Doesn’t make sense why a Player who has won 100 battles and sieges should be at 100 Tactics
 
I like this idea! IMO roguery should really be an alternative to engineering or tactics, and should synergise well with charm and scouting. Currently, roguery is only really useful if you're going for a bandit playthrough or doing a lot of raids.

I have other suggestions to help balance out the murdering a lord in the parley stage:
  • Massive penalties to honour & valor, as it'd probably consider it a cowardly act and is also basically executing a lord.
  • Player has to fight lord and two of his best soldiers (the two that appear next to him in dialogue), and can only choose two of his men similar to hideout missions. If the player has the devious trait (likely from having done this before) they won't be trusted enough to bring any men at all, so the player would have to fight all 3 alone, on threat of being captured.
  • Even after killing the lord, you still have to deal with the rest of the soldiers, either by fighting, escaping or bribing them. Maybe even through a persuasion attempt in there dependent on player's charm skill and traits of the lord (if they were close-fisted, their troops would be less eager to die avenging them after all).
 
I like this idea! IMO roguery should really be an alternative to engineering or tactics, and should synergise well with charm and scouting. Currently, roguery is only really useful if you're going for a bandit playthrough or doing a lot of raids.

I have other suggestions to help balance out the murdering a lord in the parley stage:
  • Massive penalties to honour & valor, as it'd probably consider it a cowardly act and is also basically executing a lord.
  • Player has to fight lord and two of his best soldiers (the two that appear next to him in dialogue), and can only choose two of his men similar to hideout missions. If the player has the devious trait (likely from having done this before) they won't be trusted enough to bring any men at all, so the player would have to fight all 3 alone, on threat of being captured.
  • Even after killing the lord, you still have to deal with the rest of the soldiers, either by fighting, escaping or bribing them. Maybe even through a persuasion attempt in there dependent on player's charm skill and traits of the lord (if they were close-fisted, their troops would be less eager to die avenging them after all).
Great suggestions, I think the Trait system definitely needs to be further developed (and will need to be done for my following suggestions) but ideally this should be really hard to pull off and like mentioned in the main most, should be relatively rare given the negative relationship a Lord will have.

I think the further the Trait-centric idea of this, only Devious or Dishonorable Lords should consider Assassination missions, everyone else will just start a vote to remove the Clan from their Kingdom. This may set it up that the banished Clan can kick off a Civil War (if implemented) or they themselves can create an Assassination mission targeting the Ruler of that Kingdom. Rulers should probably have their own difficulty added, and will likely require passing more skill checks and fighting a larger "palace guard" - I like the idea of the soldiers that appear with them in the interaction scenes.

I am unsure of how the current Traits are developed (what their max scale is) but ideally if doing an Assassination mission you'll take -500 to Mercy, Honor, and Valor - and up to 20% of the max bottom if you do it on your own whim or if you ambush a Lord in the field. The relationship hits should only come from failing any parts of the checks or the assassination itself - as ideally, if you do it correctly, no one should know.

To further make this something the Player has to weigh, I'd like to see Traits impact if you can vassalize or who you can have as a companion. Ideally, you should not be able to Marry/Join a Kingdom/Hire a Companion that has an opposite trait as you, and Lords should be less willing to have you as a Vassal (unless of course they're a twisted bastard too). That would make this style of play a much more satisifying role play and pretty much relegates the player to starting their own Kingdom (which will be exceedingly hard due to the reluctance of other Lords to join your cause) or to stay on as a Mercenary. Too bad players cannot join Minor Factions, as that could be a perfect way to get into a Kingdom via a "backdoor".

Other things that should could happen is assassinations can be put out on you if you're doing an "evil" playthrough - high criminality, very low relationship with lords, or being caught doing botched Assassinations, should all be potential triggers for you getting ambushed or allowing Kingdoms to declare directly on you and potentially even ban you from becoming a Mercenary for their Kingdom. You could go even further, and have your siblings or spouse leave you too if their Traits don't match up.

I see a lot of potential expansion - even if this suggestion is not taken up - there is a lot of untapped potential in the Traits themselves. Hopefully, this will lead to the underlying stats to influence traits being exposed as well to track these levels. Traits + Relationship almost add up to being a sort of Karma + Reputation similar to New Vegas.
 
I am unsure of how the current Traits are developed (what their max scale is) but ideally if doing an Assassination mission you'll take -500 to Mercy, Honor, and Valor - and up to 20% of the max bottom if you do it on your own whim or if you ambush a Lord in the field. The relationship hits should only come from failing any parts of the checks or the assassination itself - as ideally, if you do it correctly, no one should know.
Hmmm, wouldn't your party at least have an inkling? I mean, all these assassinations happening when they're in the same town, and their leader is always missing that night...then payments are coming in from a lord who hated the deceased? Tongues will be wagging.

Maybe just a reduced penalty for a perfect finish? Like -50 Honour, -50 Valour? After all, rumours are less damning than everyone knowing for a fact you killed them, but they still affect one's reputation.
 
Hmmm, wouldn't your party at least have an inkling? I mean, all these assassinations happening when they're in the same town, and their leader is always missing that night...then payments are coming in from a lord who hated the deceased? Tongues will be wagging.

Maybe just a reduced penalty for a perfect finish? Like -50 Honour, -50 Valour? After all, rumours are less damning than everyone knowing for a fact you killed them, but they still affect one's reputation.
That is true - it would award solo play for those who are into it and are properly equipped (hopefully armor is fixed by then). My core tenet behind this idea is there is always "a price to pay"
 
Top Bottom