Spicing up the HRE

Hi everyone,

like all of you I am in love with Age of Empires IV and also very interested in the actual history part of the middle ages.

In the past I was enjoying playing HRE a lot, but like many of you I get the sense of something missing in the concept of the civ. Often times we hear people say that HRE in particular are feeling one-dimensional. Though there are some nuances, I would generally agree on that statement.

In the past couple of weeks I learned a lot about the HRE history and at the same time I was thinking about how the specialties of this time and this kind of “empire” can be translated into an intriguing game mechanic.

In short summary I would like to share with you that almost from the beginning of the HRE, Kings were elected by the so called “KurfĂŒrsten”, mighty rulers of their territories. They formed an electoral college, which also consisted of the most important Archbishops of the empire. They elected the next King, who could only become King for a high cost of giving away privileges to the Empire (especially to the territories of the KurfĂŒrsten themselves). In many cases the King was crowned Emperor by the Pope.

The KurfĂŒrsten additionally each had their specific role/duty under the King/Emperor. You could compare it to todays ministeries. Some had military duties, some concerning the Church, some concerning ruling the country and managing the wealth.

Additionally in the flourishing time of the HRE we had a very(!) powerful trading union, the Hanseatic League. In short: they were very successful traders throughout all of Europe.

All this is actual history and I encourage you guys to learn more about this fantastic part of the past.

So, here are my ideas of spicing up HRE, bring new unique units and refreshing gameplay into the civ.

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Addition of “KurfĂŒrsten”, english:
Prince Electors or latin: Princeps Elector.
In Imperial Age the “KurfĂŒrsten” are able to elect a new Emperor.

Each KurfĂŒrst can be added to your empire over the course of time. They can be trained in the Landmark of each age, with some exceptions.

Age II:
Erzmarschall/Arch-Marshal:
A military KurfĂŒrst. He is a military leader and was historically responsible for the Emperors Army.
Cost: 300 food 250g, 60 seconds.

A sturdy knight. Automatically gets stronger after each age up.
Base stats: 230 HP, 20 dmg, 3/3 armor, 2 Pop.
Passiv Aura: grants all nearby infantry +5% movement speed (4 tiles).
Is affected by blacksmith and university upgrades.
When garrisoned into a military Building: increases the production and research speed of the same building types (e.g. all Stables) by 8/10/12%. Burgrave Palace is not affected.

The Erzmarschall might incentives more use of Meinwerk Palace and more feudal and generally more flexible playstyle of the HRE.

Age III:
ErzkÀmmerer/Arch-Treasurer:
Trained in a Town Center.

  • 200f 200w 200g 60 seconds, 100 HP, 6 melee damage, 2/2 armor, 2 Pop.

Can be garrisoned in different buildings for different buffs:

  • Keeps, Universities, Blacksmiths (regular): reduces research time by 15%, cost by 15% in these particular buildings (e.g. when placed in Keep, buffs all Keeps)
  • Town Centers: villager production 15% faster, 15% cheaper, eco upgrades 15% cheaper. Affects all non-Landmark TCs.

Can be garrisoned into a Market. By doing so you unlock the unique buff: “Hanseatic Trading”:

  • Traders and Trading Ships produce 10% faster.
  • Traders move 10% faster, Trading ships move 15% faster
  • Traders randomly bring back additional ressources equivalent of 15% of the gold value (can also be additional gold)

The ErzkÀmmerer gives the HRE the option to go different routes in Age III other than relics. They are an option as well and still should be, as they were historically very important for the legitimacy of the Empire.

Age IV
Arch-bishop:
Has to be trained in a monastery.

Acts as a stronger Prelate.

Cost: 450f 450g, 60 seconds. 200 HP, 2/2 armor. 2 Pop.
Passiv Aura: automatically inspires nearby villagers and military (5 tile radius). Heals 15% faster.

When garrisoned in a Monastery gives all prelates the “Fervor” buff:
movement speed +5%, healing rate +15%, healing/inspiring range +3 tiles and inspiration time +15 seconds.

Kaiser/Holy Roman Emperor:
The election of the Emperor highly boosts the morale of your Empire, which is highlighted in stronger fighting spirit and and more productive economy. Also, as mentioned, the Elect has to give away privileges to become Emperor.

  • available in Age IV

  • cost: 1000f 1000g, research time 120 seconds

  • you have to have trained all the KurfĂŒrsten/Prince Electors and have them alive

  • Elected in any monastery

  • the monastery (regular, Aachen Chapel or Regnitz Cathedral) will then become the “Seat of the Emperor”. The Builduing gains +1000 HP. The Building gets an indicator above it to show that it is now the “Seat”. A regular Monastery gets an updated visual. A royal sound is played upon completing the election.
    The UI will show having an Emperor inside, but there won’t be an actual movable unit.

  • when this building is destroyed, a new Emperor has to be elected.

  • when an Emperor is elected, you are given the following global bonuses: Keeps, Walls and Outposts are 15% cheaper, +10% HP increase on all units, +10% attack/firing rate on all units, Traders move 5% faster, villagers drop off +10 additional ressources.

With the Emperor System you would have a progressive gameplay mechanic that leads you to a satisfying goal. It also gives HRE a little more late game scaling with improved trading and units progression.

I know this will most probably stay an idea or a concept. But I still wanted to share some of the work I put into this.

I would really like to hear what you have to say about my ideas.

Have a nice day!

8 Likes

The Seat of the Emperor could train Reichsritter over time. The Reichsritter are a unique knight with a combat and movement speed bonus when around the Seat of the Emperor the bonus stays for maybe 15 seconds after leaving the influence aura of the Seat of the Emperor.
It would be a good idea if the crowning mechanic was multiple choice with the choice of crowning an emperor from a few different states unlocking passive or active bonuses, and unique units.

A few examples for unique units that could be unlocked.

  • Ritterbruder, expensive heavily armored knight that can inspire nearby military units like the prelate.
  • Rhenish Knight, fast lightly armored knight with increased torch damage that slowly regenerates hp
  • Mounted Crossbowman, a crossbowman on a horse

Example of an active bonus that could be unlocked.

  • Third Crusade, non siege land military units train for significantly cheaper and faster for a short time.
1 Like

Yeah, HRE needs some love. It stagnates for a year now and is just so plain and one dimensional as well as predictable. Both HRE and OotD feel like civs from a different game for different reasons. OotD is just
 weird.

English are also not that interesting, but have had at least some additions and changes in the last months/year.

3 Likes

Hey Veridamar,

I like your ideas!

I also think that in case that the devs decide to go this route, one has to carefully decide what to add and what to buff.

I do like the passive knight production part.

About the different Crown Routes:

  • I see analogies to different styles of Emperors. Some went on a Crusade, some worked on diplomacy, some consolidated the Empire.
  • in this sense you could decide what kind of Emperor you want to be
  • on the other side it could be dangerous to overbuff the Civ and make it too versatile.

What do you think?

3 Likes

Yeah just have like 3 or 4 choices for Crown Routes for a little more versatility, but not too much. HRE does tend to go fast imp age or castle age timing push. I think giving them +5 garrison capacity on town centers and +2 for docks and outposts could make a feudal age boom more attractive for them.
Another alternative is adding a new landmark building to represent the college of electors.

-College of Electors

  • Can be built in Dark Age
  • Complete empire building objectives or pay them resources to obtain support from elector states
  • Each subsequent quest is harder or more expensive to complete than the last one
  • Each supporting elector state gives your civilization a small bonus
  • Obtaining sufficient support from the elector states allow the training of KurfĂŒrst and the election of the
    Emperor
  • The KurfĂŒrst get trained at this building
  • The Emperor gets elected at this building unlocking unique units, active abilities based on the Crown Route.
  • Banners hang down from the building when the Emperor is elected with different designs based on the Crown Route

Edit: Examples of empire building objectives

  • build Town center/s
  • have x amount of active traders
  • secure relic/s
  • build x amount of military buildings
  • support x amount of population
  • Hold a sacred site for x amount of time
2 Likes

Oh wow, very nice, I like this a lot.

But I would argue strongly to not make it a Landmark but an additional building for the HRE. If you force it onto a Landmark you miss out on this whole new concept by choosing the other Landmark.

So basically keep Meinwerk and Aachen as is.

Also add the College of Electors (“KurfĂŒrstensitz” for example in german) as an additional building available in the Feudal Age. Something like 250w 150 stone. Having the additional building makes everything a little bit cleaner than my oiriginal idea of producing the KurfĂŒrsten in different places.

I like the rest of your idea very much. Support the different Houses or Kingdoms over the course of time.

Support for example:

  • Kingdom of Bohemia
  • Kingdom of Brandenburg
  • Kingdom of Saxony.

You could mix requirements and Tech-Ups together.
Give them something in military departement in Feudal Age and/or buff Meinwerk Palace like this via Technology in Feudal:

  • Meinwerk can garrison up to 7 units, each shooting arrows. Towers can garrison +2 units.

Give them some additional Economy Choices other than Relics, in Feudal or Castle age. Preferably trading, adding the Hanseatic part into the HRE gameplay.

With each level of support you might unlock new units or upgrades (e.g. you can upgrade to Crusader Knights, stronger MAA with new visuals, see also “Deutschritter Orden” or “Teutonic Order” in english).

You should be able to follow all the three paths of the Houses simultaniously. Only if you reach the final step with one House can you elect the Emperor of this Kingdom. Each one gives different bonuses as you described.

Oh how I wish this could become reality.

1 Like

I mean an extra landmark not for ageing up, but for their unique KurfĂŒrstensitz mechanic costing wood to build.

What do you think of this:

College of Electors/KurfĂŒrstensitz:

Available in Age II.

Four columns, three rows. Each column available in Age II/III/IV. Fourth column is the Emperor-Choice.

Kingdom of Saxony:

Age II: Train the Arch-Marshall (250f 250g, 45 seconds): powerful Cavalry unit. Passive Aura: +5% movement speed for infantry units. Automatically gets stronger with age-up.

Age III: Technology “Gewalthaufen” (300 Food 300w): when 20 or more Spearman are controlled in a Control Group they gain the Gewalthaufen buff, giving them +3 damage +15% HP.

Age IV:
Holy Duty: kill 50 military units. When done so, all military is produced 10% faster.

Margraviate of Brandenburg:

Age II:
Technology (200w, 200g): “Hanseatic Trading”: Traders and Trading Ships produce 10% faster. Traders move 10% faster, Trading Ships 15% faster.

Age III:

  • Train the Arch-Treasurer (200f 200w 200g 200s, 60 seconds): not a unit but gives different bonusses:
  • Traders randomly bring back additional ressources equivalent of 15% of the gold value (can also be additional gold)
  • TCs cost 15% less, villagers produce 15% faster from non-landmark TCs

Age IV:
Holy Duty: gather 2000 of each ressource (they can be traded as well). When done so, unit production becomes 10% cheaper.

Kingdom of Burgundy:

Age II:

  • Sanctity (150f 200g, 45 seconds): Prelates are produced 15% faster.

Age III:
Holy Duty: secure at least 2 Relics and hold a Sacred Site for at least 5 minutes. When done so, Sacred sites also generate Food, Wood and Stone.

Age IV:

  • train the Arch-Bishop unit (400f 400g).
  • the Arch-Bishop is a stronger Prelate (150 HP, 2/2 armor as base stats)
  • emits the Magnificence Aura (5 tiles): all Prelates including the Arch-Bishop affected by it: + 15% healing rate, +3 range for heal/inspire/convert. Inspiration duration +15 seconds.

When all Techs and Duties of one Kingdom/House are finished, you can elect the Emperor of that House. Only one Emperor can be active. When the College of Electors gets destroyed, you lose all privileges and have to elect a new Emperor. Election takes 120 seconds. Upon completion:

Saxony:
Keeps and Towers do +15% damage. Units have +15% attack speed. Siege workshops work 10% faster.

Brandenburg:
All Technologies are 15% cheaper and produce 15% faster. Keeps, Towers and Walls are 15% cheaper. Villagers drop +10 Ressources, Traders trade 15% additional random ressources.

Burgundy:

  • Relics and Sacred Sites generate +100% ressources.
  • you can now produce units of the Deutschritter Orden.
2 Likes

That’s very interesting and portraits that part of the HRE well enough. There have been good advices already so I just wanted to say that the system can’t be too complex because the HRE has a 2 star difficulty rating, which I highly doubt will ever change, and it has to adhere to that, I’m afraid.

A more surefire way would be adding new unique units or techs.

This is what I want to see HRE look like. The current HRE is too boring. It is basically just another civilization with more priests and holy objects can be placed in other buildings. It does not show that HRE is composed of many small Characteristics of a country or family group.

Ah, how I wish I could display the emblems of various vassal states on the shields of the infantry and cavalry of the HRE, but unfortunately this is just a dream.

2 Likes

Awesome that you enjoy that idea as well.

On a second or third look some of the features should be revisited for sure. For example I would tweak the Saxony thech a little to:

Age III: Technology “Gewalthaufen” (200 Food 200w): when 12 or more Spearmen are controlled in a Control Group they gain the Gewalthaufen buff, giving them +3 damage +10% HP.

You have to produce at least 15 anyway to have the buff stay up in a fight before some spearmen go down, so 20 was way too many.

For additional information see for example here: Pike square - Wikipedia

The Arch-Treasurer is probably too expensive as well.

Additionally it should be considered to tune down villager inspiration to 30% gathering rate (without “Devoutness”). HRE economy could else become busted if they are later given additional trading options. But even still, if I look at other civs Eco bonusses, I don’t worry too much.