This is a world where pagan rites and Viking raiders dominate the North and East of Europe, keeping up the ways of their ancestors. Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods adds two hundred years to the start of the game, when Viking armies and freelance adventurers pillage towns and monasteries, sailing wherever the promise of gold and glory await them. The hinterlands are still ruled by unrepentant heathens who may only submit to the Glory of God at the point of the sword, and in future Russia, the Orthodox faith may slowly make inroads to lands the Apostles had never dreamed of.
Players will also be able to begin their in-game reign as far back as the year 867 AD, making The Old Gods officially the Paradox title that spans the longest period in history.
In the year 867 the Old Gods were still mighty. In England, the Raven Banner flew as the Great Heathen Army pillaged its way across the land, deposing kings and establishing the Danelaw. In the East, Rurik founded the state of Russia, and in the forests and steppes of central Europe, pagan tribes were on the move...
Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods lets players step into the boots of a pagan chieftain, approaching the brutal backstabbing world of Crusader Kings through invasion, adventure, and holy war.
Developer Diary #1: A Different Europe
Yes, we're pushing back the earliest possible start date to 867 AD. This is a special bookmark that comes with the expansion (and you will not be able to start at dates between 867 and 1066 without modding.)
Europe is a very different place in 867... Many of the familiar countries have not yet come into being. There is no Hungary, no Poland, no Russian principalities and the British Isles and Scandinavia are full of petty kingdoms. The Carolingians still rule the Franks, but the great Empire of Charlemagne has been divided between four of his descendants. In the Byzantine Empire, a new dynasty has just risen - the House of Makedon - destined to restore some of its former glory. The Muslims are in the middle of a drawn-out crisis as the once enormous Abbasid Caliphate has fractured, with a succession of Caliphs being murdered by their own Turkish generals.
Most importantly, however, the North and East are completely dominated by bustling tribes of unrepentant heathens who remain less than impressed with the White Christ. Why debase yourself before a dead man on a cross when you can loot the riches of his fat clergy instead? Just as the fury of the Northmen descends on the undefended shores of Europe, other, equally pagan threats are on the rise in the steppes of Tartaria. Like the Avars before them, the feared Magyar horse lords are pushing into Europe from beyond the Carpathians. Why is all this more important than the affairs of Christians and Muslims? Because with The Old Gods, all these heathens are finally playable!
In the coming weeks, I will explain the different religions in detail. I will, of course, also talk about other new features, like traversible rivers, new cultures, Zoroastrians, Adventurers, and much more. Stay tuned, and here are some more screenshots to tease and titillate!
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