As the DeI team gears up for another update coming this winter, we have targeted some upcoming changes for new beta submods that are already available to try out! One of those submods is the Celtic Overhaul from Q_Sertorius and CEMN. The main goal of this specific new beta is to revise most of the Celtic faction rosters in order to streamline and improve them both mechanically and aesthetically. We will have previews for these various roster changes, starting with the Arverni!
Celtic Overhaul by Q_Sertorius and CEMN
For the overall revision of the Celtic rosters, we wanted to provide a justification to hire each unit, at least at some point in the game. We also wanted to give each Celtic faction unique strengths and weaknesses, rooted in what historical and archaeological records we have, in a way which promoted good gameplay for each faction. In terms of unit power, we wanted to make the appearance match the stats, rather than the stats match the appearance. To that end, we took a close look at every unit’s stats to ensure that there were logical progressions. We removed a couple of units in order to reduce the bloat and repurposed others to give them more interesting roles.
In terms of roster design, we did not want to fundamentally change the Arverni roster. They were, and still are, a faction with relatively strong spear/phalanx and cavalry units. They were, and still are, relatively weak in melee infantry units. This does not mean that all their cavalry is the best in the game, nor does it mean that their melee infantry is terrible. Rather, they get great cavalry from Second Class population. They get good melee infantry from First Class population. This is the way the DeI team originally designed the Arverni and we saw no reason to change this approach. In terms of historical justification, this is driven by the fact that while swords may be the iconic Celtic weapons, spears are far more common in the archaeological record.
The boldest roster change was the decision to add actual short pike units to the Arverni late game roster. This built on their factional strength in phalanx units. While we know from Caesar that the Gauls employed Shield Walls, which were fundamentally similar to Mediterranean phalanx units, there is no direct evidence for these short pike units. It is justified by the discovery of a large number of rather large spearheads in First Century BC contexts. While this may seem to be relatively weak justification for such units, it is similar in evidentiary strength to the Boian two-handed sword units. There is some evidence to justify what makes for good gameplay. They are a logical extrapolation from the limited records we have. The result is a faction which, throughout the game, can maintain a strong mainline of phalanx units, protected on the flanks by great spear units, with slingers as their primary missile weapons, and widely-available cavalry to provide the hammer blow.
Aesthetically, besides an improved variety and visual quality of assets, one of the main goals has been to make sure unit visuals properly represent the stats and the class of the unit. For example, an armor value of 20 represents a helmet plus a leather cuirass, which will be the most common setup for that unit. But for variety, some warriors might want to showcase their bravery by not wearing a helmet or lighter armor, while another yet might wear reinforced leather or scale. But, the unit average will even out.
As for class, bright colors typically represent wealth as dyes could be expensive. Therefore, the Freeman class typically wear less colorful clothing and very basic armor and are generally shaggier and more unkempt than the Warrior class, who are a clear step up in terms of displayed wealth and equipment quality. Naturally, the Nobility carry the very best in arms and armor and flaunt their wealth with fine colorful textiles, silver and gold jewelry and eye-catching helmet decorations. Finally, Gallic art from around DeI’s timeframe depicts clean shaven men, something also mentioned by Caesar. Therefore, most Arverni nobles and a few of the warrior class won’t have any facial hair.
The Arverni reforms now lead to increased uniformity due to a powerful, centralized Celtic polity that could mass-produce simple equipment or mandate the wearing of helmets. But, all of that goes for Celts across the board. The Arverni particularly stand out as extra extravagant, with their cavalry being the fanciest of all.
We will have more previews to come as we approach 1.3 this winter. Make sure to check out this and our other beta submods on our Discord!