19 days ago - PDXRyagi - Direct link
Good evening, good morning and good afternoon. Whatever timezone you're in, it's time for another Mod Spotlight! For this mod spotlight, we look to conclude our series showing off post 1.37 Major updates. With future mod spotlights going back to covering some of the more (hopefully) unknown diamonds in the rough. For now though, lets dive straight into a look at the upcoming Ante Bellum content, Blood and Iron. Presented by Lead Dev Parmelion.


Hello everyone! My name is Parmelion and I am the lead developer of Ante Bellum. Today, I would like to present to you the upcoming ninth major update of the mod, titled ‘Blood and Iron’, which is releasing in less than two week - on July 8!

For those of you who are not familiar with the mod, Ante Bellum is a vanilla+ alternative history mod. The main design philosophy of the mod is to completely preserve the base game gameplay and add no new invasive mechanics to the game that would make the player feel like they must learn to interact with a new system in order to play optimally. In other words, if you know how to play the base game, you will instantly know how to play Ante Bellum! The mod’s main appeal is a completely new country setup caused by multiple historical points of divergence – Normans losing the Battle of Hastings, Arabs failing to conquer Persia, Mongols succeeding in invading Japan as well as five years’ worth of content, with hundreds of mission trees, government reforms, events, decisions, formable nations and so much more! If you are looking for a more general overview of the mod, I would recommend you checking out the first mod spotlight of Ante Bellum[forum.paradoxplaza.com].

Now, let’s shift our attention to the main topic of today – the 1.9 ‘Blood and Iron’ update. In this update, we have decided to revisit one of the most popular regions in the world and give a proper facelift to the Holy Roman Empire. Although the HRE was a side focus of the 1.4 ‘Empire’s Downfall’ update, the update was released four years ago, and the content is visibly dated and no longer up to our current standards. Now, I would like to show you a short list of the update’s main features, and then I will speak about them in more detail:
  • Province and country update of the Holy Roman Empire
  • Nine new or updated imperial incidents
  • Hussite, Gaelic and Anglican HRE paths
  • Overhauled custom achievements screen window
  • Protestant & Reformed religious schools
  • Reformation changes & Counter-Reformation
  • Paladins special unit
  • German, Italian, Gallic and Byzantine pre-set colonial nations
  • 24 new mission trees
  • New soundtrack, loading screen, bookmark, achievements, formable nations, events, decisions, estate privileges, government reforms, monuments, cultures, cosmetic renames, dynamic province names and so much more

The first thing you’ll likely see when booting up Blood and Iron for the first time is our new loading screen. This original piece of artwork depicts Robert de Hauteville, also known as the Mad Duke of Capua – one of the most popular characters in the entire mod with quite literally insane event chain dedicated to him. If you are looking for a challenging and flavorful first campaign in Ante Bellum, then I would highly recommend you check out Capua!

Many centuries have passed since the Ottonian dynasty's illustrious reign came crashing down. Trampled under boot by the resurgent Carolingians, Saxony was thoroughly harried, with furor far surpassing even Charlemagne's war against Widukind. All the while, the princes prostrated themselves before the French, offering oaths laced with sedition and tribute stained in blood. Since then, the Holy Roman Empire's integrity - and by extension that of the Roman Catholic Church - have been called into question; Trinacria's fall to the Saracen menace in the 14th Century came as a devastating blow to Italy's security, followed mere decades later by Bohemia's immolation in the Hussite War. Now, as if adding naphtha to a pyre, 1443's Humiliation of Valencia dangles precariously over Emperor Lothair's head like the Sword of Damocles. Whether the Emperor or the princes prevail, there is no doubt that the Empire's destiny shall be forged through blood and iron.

Next up, you’ll encounter our new country setup and bookmark whose description you can read above. As we were mostly fine with the country setup established by the 1.4 ‘Empire’s Downfall’ update, the map overhaul of 1.9 is much more modest compared to our previous major updates. Despite that, you will still have a lot of new countries to play as, including Ivrea, Ravenna or Chur. We were also pretty satisfied with the province density, so the map update was not as massive as it is otherwise common for our major updates, but still, we do have some new provinces, such as the Isle of Elba, and wastelands here and there.

The first major feature I would like to talk about are the new imperial incidents. They are a great tool which revitalizes the game in the HRE and gives all tags something to interact with. In Blood and Iron, we are adding nine new or reworked imperial incidents. Our new incidents include Lotharingia’s Imperial Entrance, the Wendish Threat or the Fate of Francia which fires once the Carolingians lose the imperial mantle. The new Emperor will be able to kick Francia out of the Empire, and if the princes vote for kicking the French, Francia will be able to contest this decision and declare the War for the Fate of Francia and the Empire against the Emperor. If victorious, Francia will reclaim the imperial mantle and force itself back into the HRE. Imperial princes will be choosing sides and joining either Francia or the new emperor, so this war will eventually turn into a mini league war.

Now, let's shift our focus to religion for a bit. In Blood and Iron, we have decided to better represent various Protestant denominations by giving the religious schools mechanic to Protestant and Reformed religions. The new religious schools will not only add new flavor and more depth to intrareligious interactions but will also provide the player with some additional bonuses. You will be able to embrace a wide variety of religious schools, including Lutheran, Waldensian, Calvinist, Puritan and more! Moreover, you might have noticed a Center of Reformation with the Catholic cross next to it on the screenshot. In Blood and Iron, Catholic countries which have embraced Counter-Reformation will be able to spawn Centers of Counter-Reformation to fight the heretics more effectively!

Those of you who are familiar with Ante Bellum know that we have our own achievement system. As of now, the system works primarily through decisions, but since the addition of moddable custom GUI, the system was converted to be supported by an interactable interface. We originally wanted to make it look exactly like Steam achievements, but decided to go for a more unique and authentic design. Achievements are also sorted by major updates, as indicated by the small patch in the bottom right corner. For our achievement hunters, Blood and Iron will be adding about 20 completely new achievements!

Pre-set colonial nations are one of the most unique and fan favourite features of Ante Bellum. Essentially, they are pre-made tags which your generated colonial nations turn into should you have the option enabled. This allows us to assign various unique features to them, such as custom country flags. In Blood and Iron, we will be adding new pre-set colonial nations to Germany, Italy, Gallia and Byzantium. Here’s a preview of their new custom flags:

Now, to the fan favourite part of all updates - mission trees! When it comes to missions, Blood and Iron will be the largest update Ante Bellum has ever received. With new mission trees for over 20 tags, and some trees exceeding 70 missions, the player will have a lot of great content to go through. Since most of these trees are regional, almost every single nation in the HRE – anything ranging from Carniola, Frankfurt, Holstein, Ravenna to Lombardy – will receive a unique mission tree.

Here's a look at some of them:

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Besides that, there is a lot of other content coming, including new formable nations such as Aquitaine, Helvetia or Rhineland.

New great projects such as the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Palace of Arles.

New government mechanics including Helvetic Militarization and Hanseatic Commercialism.

New menu indicators for nations which have received a mini-update or have access to pre-set colonial nations.

New special units

Blood & Iron also comes with a completely originally new soundtrack by the prolific composer, Utopia. You can listen to that here:

And that’s far from over. There are hundreds of new events, decisions, government reforms, estate privileges, dynamic province names, cultures, lore startup screens and much much more.
Blood and Iron is the result of more than a year of hard work, and we are excited to finally release it to the public on July 8. All of our supporters, however, can play the update in early access right now. If supporting the mod’s development is within your means, definitely consider it, as you will unlock yourself about 15 amazing rewards, including early access to all future updates or the ability to request content additions to the mod.
If you would instead prefer to watch the new content in action, several content creators have already covered it, and you can watch the playthrough of multiple 1.9 nations in their videos:

I would also like to invite you to join our community Discord server which has over 11000 members and allows you to talk to other mod fans, share your campaigns, participate in multiplayer games or community events. You can find all relevant links in the Steam description of the mod.

Thank you for taking the time to read this mod spotlight. See you in Ante Bellum!


Back to John Paradox speaking, Thank you all for joining us! Be sure to check out Ante Bellum on July 8th, especially if you haven't already tried this breathtaking mod.
If you're reading this as it comes out, we also invite you to check out our selection of Paradox titles currently on sale now in the Steam Summer sale. Including Eu4 and select DLCs for up to 70% off.

As we mentioned at the start, we hope to bring these spotlights back to their roots and show of some of the lesser known mods in the coming weeks/months. We'll see you then!

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