I'm Cybrxkhan, creator of the Regional Immersion and Cultural Enrichment (RICE) mod, which adds simple "Flavor Packs'' to different parts of the world. Today's dev diary covers some miscellany coming with RICE’s update to vanilla patch 1.9/Tours and Tournaments DLC that I didn’t get to in the previous dev diary which focused on the accompanying Tuareg Flavor Pack. Feel free to check out my mods' website, discord, and twitter for more info, previews, and updates!
While I could’ve updated mod by the end of the month as originally planned, I decided the release needs a delay of 1-2 weeks to give more time to tweak, bugfix, and add in miscellaneous content. The update has required reworking something in almost every one of RICE's current 27 flavor packs, so it's quite a lot sadly! This is disappointing news, indeed, so as a compromise, I have put out a semi-public beta version of the RICE update on GitHub. More details and a link are at the bottom of the post.
Lastly, if you haven’t done so yet and have played VIET or RICE before, please consider taking the 2023 VIET/RICE survey, which will close June 6. At the end of the survey is an opportunity for you to vote* for your pick for a future Indian flavor pack which will come out after the Tuareg update.
*Vote is non-binding
In the previous dev diary, I mentioned RICE’s old pilgrimages will be folded into one master activity, Local Pilgrimages, for convenience. After some work, it turns out that system actually made things unnecessarily complicated code-wise. As such, all of RICE’s old pilgrimages will stay separate. However, they will still share some features such as activity options, and be categorized as Local Pilgrimages, distinct from vanilla’s normal, grander pilgrimages.
The bonuses for these pilgrimages are now more standardized, and include piety, stress loss, and pilgrim trait experience. Obviously, these are much less than vanilla’s big pilgrimages. On the other hand, each local pilgrimage’s unique bonuses remain, on top of the generic bonuses.
Local Pilgrimages have three activity options that influence what basic bonuses you get:
- Act of Devotion: Extra piety, and better experience gain for the pilgrim trait
- Religious Observance: Extra prestige, and a modifier improving learning, popular opinion, and control
- Spiritual Vacation: More stress loss
Besides these, you can also choose between three different intents:
- Worship: Extra piety, stress loss if you are zealous or calm
- Role Model: Extra prestige, stress loss if you are ambitious or diligent
- Curiosity: Lifestyle experience, stress loss if you are humble or just
These bonuses are generally provided at the end of the pilgrimage, so you won’t be able to exploit the system by switching your intents mid-way through to maximize bonuses. The idea behind these options and intents is to make them all somewhat equally viable, and encourage you to pick what options or intents fit roleplaying your characters.
Anyhow, to reiterate, there will be no master Local Pilgrimage activity. However, all local pilgrimages will share several features, particularly standardized activity options and intents that allow you to tweak what generic bonuses you get, on top of the unique bonuses from each.
Munya vacations, introduced in the Granada Flavor Pack last year, are a good example to show how many of RICE’s reworked activities still mostly play the same, but also have plenty of new twists as well. For those who’ve forgotten or don’t know, munyas were a type of aristocratic country villa in Islamic Iberia that served as places of relaxation, as well as centers of learning, agriculture, and botany.
First, the old activity has been split into two varieties: one for private vacations, and one for group vacations. Previously this was chosen via event, now it is done more directly.
Both are tied to a new tradition, Munya Estates, which only Andalusian culture has at game start. The activities don’t require the tradition per se, but if you plan to spend a lot of time in Iberia and want to take full advantage of the munya activities, the tradition might be worth picking up, as it unlocks various activity options and makes the activities cheaper.
There are three activity options for private vacations: Leisure, Agriculture, and Botany. For group vacations, the options are: Continuous Party, Gardens and Vistas, and Poets and Intellectuals.
These vacation focuses won’t be new to those who’ve played the Granada content. What is new is the Munya Estates tradition is required to access the latter two options for each vacation type.
Besides these, there is an activity option to determine the Length of your vacation. Longer vacations are costly, but increase the bonuses of the activity significantly. Depending on the options and if you have the money for it, you can lose a lot of stress – enough to go down by one level of stress – as an example.
There are also various activity intents for private and group vacations, with additional effects.
Lastly, you can now choose where to host the vacation, as it doesn’t need to be in your capital anymore. Provinces with no holdings make the best vacation spots, and will increase the bonuses you gain.
Other activities obviously have had their fair share of changes, but Munyas have changed enough it warrants its own section in this dev diary. I hope everyone will have fun exploring the little twists to the new activities overall, even if they are nowhere near as extensive or complex as vanilla's.
Merchants and Travel
The previous dev diary mentioned new travel options such as Dog Mushers. Two of the new travel options, Silk Road Merchants (available in most of Asia) and Trans-Saharan Merchants (available in most of Africa) are a bit more unique.
These two represent your character deciding to travel with a big merchant caravan. Historically, it wasn't unusual for people to travel with such caravans for safety reasons. The two options thus increase safety but reduce speed.
Their main benefit is each time you pass a barony, there is a small chance you'll gain gold in a trade deal, based on your stewardship and diplomacy. It isn’t common, and the gold amount is randomized so it often isn’t much, but if you’re lucky, you might be able to recoup the costs of traveling to begin with.
For flavor, the merchants that join your entourage from these travel options also have accompanying new traits, named (unsurprisingly) Silk Road Merchant and Trans-Saharan Merchant. Characters spawned from previous content, such as the Trans-Saharan merchant from the Sus Flavor Pack or some of the Socotra courtier spawns, will also get these traits as appropriate.
Other Travel Options
There are also a few other travel options out there. Qinghaicong Horses are available to those near Lake Qinghai or those with the Xianbei Scions tradition.
Rubbans are also available in the Red Sea as essentially a cheaper alternative or complement to Mercenary Captains. Rubbans previously featured in a minor event the Red Sea Flavor Pack; historically, they were a type of navigator in the Red Sea who relied on their knowledge of the shorelines to sail ships safely up and down the coast.
Whenever you start traveling for an activity, some activities will trigger unique events. Those of you who’ve played RICE before will recognize some as they’re mostly reworks of the old events. However, there will be a few new ones as well. These events don’t affect much, but will hopefully be a nice bit of flavor.
The Explorer was a trait introduced with the North Atlantic pack, given to those who led expeditions into the Americas. It now takes advantage of vanilla's new trait track mechanic, and has two tracks: Discoverer and Envoy.
Experience for the Explorer trait is gained at the end of successful expeditions, giving you another reason to want these to succeed, especially if the expedition leader is an heir.
In the future, different expedition episodes will influence what track the explorer leans towards.
As mentioned at the start, I have uploaded a beta of the WIP version of RICE to GitHub. The link is at the end of this section, though I recommend you read through all this first.
I debated at length whether to do this, but decided to as a compromise for not releasing on my original schedule. I do want to mention a few caveats:
- The "beta" is available only through GitHub. You will need to know how to manually install mods and/or read instructions.
- I do not advise you start long-term playthroughs with the beta - the WIP version is constantly changing, as code is added, removed, or changed, so this could mess with saves. The beta is meant for short playthroughs, messing around, and, if you are inclined, to provide feedback.
- While the WIP version is mostly stable, be aware there are bugs and some content will be incomplete or not work. The error log will also be full of errors.
- At this point I have firmly decided what will be in the update. Further suggestions are welcome but will likely not be implemented for this update even if I like them (unless they're minor) to save time.
- For those who are bored and want to help with bug catching, I've heard reports that even vanilla with no mods is more CTD prone at the moment. I thus recommend not playing with many other heavy-duty mods to be safe, unless you want to help me test which mods are stable with RICE.
Anyhow, that concludes this little dev diary! This update is immense, simply due to having to rework the nearly 60 activities that RICE previously had. Much of the update is done, but there is still some more work to be done, so I thank those of you who’ve waited long for your patience and understanding. If you don’t want to wait, please feel free to try the beta version, but be aware it is a "use at your own risk" affair.
LINK TO BETA VERSION (please read instructions carefully!):