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Dev Diary #20 – Diplomatic Actions

2021-10-21

Dev Diary 20 - Diplomatic Actions

Hello and welcome to yet another Victoria 3 dev diary! Today we’ll be continuing to talk about Diplomacy, specifically on the topic of Diplomatic Actions, which are the means by which countries in Victoria 3 conduct diplomacy, build (or tear down) relations, and sign various kinds of agreements with each other.

Diplomatic Actions and how they work should be pretty familiar to anyone who’s played pretty much any other Paradox Grand Strategy game. In short, a Diplomatic Action is a type of interaction that is carried out by one country towards another, and which sometimes (but not always) requires the agreement of the other party. 

As the exact requirements and effects of a Diplomatic Action are unique to each type of action, this Dev Diary will mostly just be going over which actions currently exist in the game, but before I get into that I want to briefly explain about the three distinct categories that all actions fall into and how they differ:

  • Instant Actions: These are actions that are carried out immediately upon use and/or acceptance (if acceptance is needed). They do not cost any Influence capacity as they do not require maintenance. 
  • Ongoing Actions: These are unilateral actions that are carried out over time by one party towards the other, and can only be cancelled by the first party. They can have an Influence maintenance cost, in which case only the first party is the one to pay it.
  • Pacts: These are bilateral actions that are carried out over time as an agreement between two parties. If there is a maintenance cost, both parties have to pay it unless the agreement has a clear senior and junior partner (such as Subject relationships). Both parties can break the pact off, though in some cases it may require the agreement of the other party.

 

A look at some of the actions and pacts available between two independent countries

Diplomatic Actions targetting Transvaal

If you’re still a bit unclear on the difference between these three, don’t worry! It should hopefully become clearer once we start going into examples. So with no further ado, let’s talk about what actions there currently are available in the game. Please note that, as always, the game is still under active development so what’s in here may not exactly match what we have for release. 

Instant Actions (not necessarily an exhaustive list):

  • Expel Diplomats: This is an action that immediately lowers Relations with the target country, stops any ongoing attempt by them to Improve Relations with you, and blocks further Improve Relations attempts for a period of 5 years. Using Expel Diplomats also gives the acting country some Infamy, and prevents them from using Expel Diplomats on the same country for 5 years.
  • Take on Debt: This is an action that allows one country to take on the debt of another in exchange for being owed an Obligation (more on this in later dev diaries).
  • Redeem Obligation: This is an action that forgives an Obligation owed to the acting country in exchange for a large boost in Relations.
  • Violate Sovereignty: This is an action that allows the acting country to violate the neutrality of another country through whom they need military access, creating a Diplomatic Incident and potentially bringing new countries into the conflict. We’ll go more into under what conditions you can use this and exactly how it works at a later time. 

 

Russia’s unexpected attempt to build stronger relations with the Ottomans is not being received well at the Sublime Porte

Expel Diplomats

Ongoing Actions (not necessarily an exhaustive list):

  • Improve Relations: This is an ongoing action that slowly raises relations up to a maximum value of 50 (out of 100). Costs Influence to maintain, with the cost increasing if the target has a high Rank
  • Damage Relations: This is an ongoing action that slowly lowers relations down to a minimum value of -50 (out of -100). Costs Influence to maintain, with the cost increasing if the target has a high Rank
  • Bankroll: This is an ongoing action where one country pays a part of its monetary income to another each week as direct subsidies to their state treasury.

 

The contest between Siam and Dai Nam for control of Cambodia led to a longstanding regional rivalry that sparked several wars in the early 19th century

Damage Relations

Non-Subject Pacts (not necessarily an exhaustive list):

  • Alliance: This is a diplomatic pact that allows two countries to help each other when attacked in a Diplomatic Play, even if they do not have an Interest in the relevant area (more on this next week). Costs Influence to maintain, with the cost increasing if the other part has a high Rank.
  • Customs Union: This is a diplomatic pact where there is a senior and a junior partner, and makes the junior partner part of the senior partner’s national market instead of having their own market. Costs Influence to maintain for the senior partner only, with the cost increasing if the other part has a high Rank.
  • Trade Agreement: This is a diplomatic pact which gives both countries competitive advantages when establishing trade routes in the market of the other country. Costs Influence to maintain, with the cost increasing if the other part has a high Rank.

 

A trade agreement between Russia and Prussia would let the latter tap even more deeply into the former’s timber exports and improve Russia’s access to German-made tools

Trade Agreement

Subject Pacts (not necessarily an exhaustive list):

  • Protectorate: This is a type of non-colonial subject relationship where the subject is very autonomous, the only restriction placed on them being that they are not able to have a fully independent foreign policy. Can be turned into a Puppet by their overlord through a Diplomatic Play.
  • Puppet: This is a type of non-colonial subject relationship where the subject has no diplomatic autonomy, pays part of their income to their overlord and is part of the overlord’s national market. Can be annexed by their overlord through a Diplomatic Play.
  • Dominion: This is a type of colonial subject relationship where the subject has extensive diplomatic autonomy and can have their own subjects, though they’re still required to be part of their overlord’s market. Can be turned into a Territory by their overlord through a Diplomatic Play.
  • Territory: This is a type of colonial subject relationship where the subject has limited diplomatic autonomy, pays part of their income to their overlord and is part of the overlord’s national market. Can be annexed by their overlord through a Diplomatic Play.
  • Tributary: This is a special subject relationship only available to Unrecognized Powers where the subject has extensive diplomatic autonomy and can have their own subjects, though they’re required to pay part of their income to their overlord. Can be turned into a Vassal by their overlord through a Diplomatic Play.
  • Vassal: This is a special subject relationship only available to Unrecognized Powers where the subject has no diplomatic autonomy, pays part of their income to their overlord and is part of the overlord’s national market. Can be annexed by their overlord through a Diplomatic Play.

 

Afghanistan has no intention of becoming a Persian tributary peacefully, and Persia will have to resort to a threat of force if they intend to press the matter further

Tributary

Before I leave off, I also just want to briefly mention that as with many of our systems, the Diplomatic Action system is built to be completely moddable, up to and including adding new forms of Subjects or entirely new Pacts with completely custom effects. We’re quite excited to see how you all take advantage of all this moddability once the game is finally out!

Well then, that’s it! This has of course been something of a brief overview, and we’ve left out a bunch of details regarding a number of the interactions that we’ll come back to later, but it should give you a good idea of the limits of diplomacy in Victoria 3… that is, unless you’re willing to get a bit more bold, in which case you should check back next week, as we talk about Diplomatic Plays and how they will let you shatter those limits!