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Dev Diary #47 - Conversion and Assimilation

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Happy Thursday! Today our topic returns to Pop mechanics, with a discussion around some of the finer details on how Pops may change their religion and culture over time depending on your nation’s legal system. The mechanics themselves are quite straightforward, but as always in Victoria 3, the applications of them can have quite different outcomes in different situations. Let’s begin by reviewing the mechanics around Discrimination, since this will be important later in the discussion. We’ve already talked about most of this in other dev diaries but some details here may be new.


Discriminated Pops have barely any Political Strength and cannot vote. This means the only way they can impact your country’s politics is by agitating for change through Political Movements, or by starting a civil war for self-rule through a Cultural Secession. In addition to being hamstrung politically, they also get paid substantially less than their non-discriminated counterparts, have a harder time developing Qualifications for certain Professions, and their presence in your country is a potential source of radicalism and Turmoil.

Whether a Pop is discriminated against or accepted depends on who they are, the national identity of the country they live in, and the laws of that country. Both culture and religion are potential reasons for discrimination, and these are controlled by different laws. Your Citizenship laws determine which Pops are discriminated against on the basis of their culture, while your Church and State laws determine which forms of worship are considered acceptable in your country. To be considered non-discriminated by these laws, Pops must pass a more or less stringent selection criteria based on how much they differ from the primary culture(s) and state religion in the country. For example, under the Racial Segregation Citizenship law, only Pops whose culture’s heritage trait matches that of their primary cultures heritage trait will be accepted. The heritage trait indicates which region of the world the culture originates from (e.g. European, African, Indigenous American), and under this law that is the only thing that matters - whether the Pops speak the same language, or are both transplants in the New World, is unimportant in determining their status. By contrast, under Cultural Exclusionany similarity between a Pop’s culture and one of the primary ones qualifies them as equal under the law. The total set of options are: Ethnostate: only Pops of primary cultures are accepted National Supremacy: Pops whose cultures share both heritage and another trait are accepted Racial Segregation: Pops of the same heritage are accepted Cultural Exclusion: Pops whose cultures share any similarities are accepted Multiculturalism: no cultures are discriminated against State Religion: only Pops who adhere to the state religion are accepted Freedom of Conscience: Pops who adhere to a religion in the same family as the state religion are accepted (e.g. any branch of Christianity, any form of Buddhist) Total Separation: no religions are discriminated against


The practical impact of these laws therefore depends on what the state religion and primary cultures of your country are, as well as who actually lives in your country. An Ethnostate operates no differently in practice than a Multicultural state if only Pops of primary cultures live there. Since Pops are unlikely to mass migrate to your country if they’d be oppressed there once they arrived, until you expand your borders and populace by force you may not see a practical difference (except for a curious lack of immigrants). But if you were to form a Customs Union with a poorer neighbor, resulting in a lot of economic migration within the market to your country, you might have to deal with substantial political strife until you take steps to loosen up your Citizenship laws. If the option exists for you, as an alternative you might consider attempting to unify your nations instead (which we’ll learn more about next week) in order to accept both cultures as “primary”. Alright, now that we’ve cleared up how countries can adapt to the Pops, we will consider how Pops might adapt to their country.


First let’s tackle Religious Conversion. Pops who are discriminated against on the basis of their religion will always be in the process of converting to an accepted religion. The religion they convert to is not necessarily the state religion, though - it could be any accepted religion that is dominant in the state where they live. An Indigenous American following an Animist religion in a United States with Freedom of Conscience instead of Total Separation is eventually going to convert to some form of Christianity to avoid religious persecution, but if they live in a Nebraska that has been settled by predominantly Catholic rather than Protestant Pops, they would convert to Catholicism even though Protestantism is the dominant religion in the nation as a whole. Pops convert at a percentage-based rate, currently set to a base of 0.2% / month (as usual, numbers such as these are subject to balancing and change before release, and are always moddable). A percentage-based conversion rate naturally means a diminishing number of actual converts over time, so at this rate it would take almost 30 years for ½ of your discriminated population to convert. If you find this rate too ponderous for your strategic goals, you have two primary tools at your disposal to speed it up. The Religious School System law + institution combination increases this rate by +20% per investment level, up to a potential maximum of +100% (i.e. twice the speed). It also increases the Education Access of Pops overall and increases the Clout of the Devout Interest Group. The other method is the Promote National Values decree. Like all decrees, it is issued in a certain state and costs Authority for each state it is issued in, so in a larger country you will have to focus your efforts. Promote National Values doubles the rate of both conversion and assimilation.


Using a combination of both methods, you could speed up religious conversion such that ½ of a minority population can be converted to an accepted religion within the span of a 10 years. Of course, your school system only extends to incorporated states, so if you’re trying to mass convert Pops in conquered land or colonies you will have to do so by decree - or embark on the often lengthy and painstaking process of incorporating a part of the world that’s culturally alien to your country. This leads us to cultural assimilation. The conditions for assimilation are a little more complex than conversion, and in some ways operate by the reverse logic. In order to start assimilating, a Pop must already be culturally accepted. After all, if they can’t get citizenship, can’t vote, can’t participate in politics, can’t get paid a fair wage on the basis of who they are, there simply is no way for them to assimilate - by which we mean, integrate themselves into a primary culture such that they are both accepted as such by others and genuinely consider themselves part of that culture. Renouncing one’s religious beliefs and practices can be a very practical and concrete choice, but adopting and being adopted by a different culture is not a utilitarian decision. In addition, Pops will never change culture if they live in a state they consider their Homeland. A Franco-Canadian in Ontario might over time adopt the ways and tongue of their Anglo-Canadian neighbors, but a Franco-Canadian who resides in Quebec?! Plutôt mourir! (And of course, if a confederated Canada has been created with both Anglo- and Franco-Canadian as primary cultures, none of those types of Pops would be changing cultures in the first place.) If a Pop should be assimilating, the culture they will be assimilating into will always be a primary culture. This is because, again, this is not a practical decision that’s just up to the Pop in question, but a two-way-street of assimilation into the dominant national identity. In the case of countries with multiple primary cultures, the one selected will be the Homeland of the state the Pop lives in, or in case none or several apply, the dominant one among Pops who already live there. A Czech Pop living in a unified Germany (North + South German) in the state of Silesia (North German and Polish Homelands) will assimilate into the North German culture; if they lived in Bavaria they would be assimilating into the South German culture; and if they lived in Bohemia they would not assimilate at all, since Bohemia is a not only a South German but also a Czech Homeland. If this Pop instead lived in Transylvania (with both Hungarian and Romanian primary cultures and Homelands), they would be assimilating into whichever of those cultures is more dominant in the part of Transylvania where they live. The rate of assimilation is the same as for religion, 0.2% per month. As mentioned, the Promote National Values decree can be used to double this rate on a per-state basis. In addition, a Public School System will provide an increased assimilation rate of +12.5% per investment level, representing perhaps a less overt approach to indoctrination than their religious counterparts. With maximum effort, this means you can assimilate half of a minority population in about 18 years.


I’ll end on a small design note. While our primary motivation while developing these mechanics was to provide a logical and believable simulation, a nice side effect of the asymmetry between conversion and assimilation is that there’s no way to benefit from both without an asymmetry in your laws as well. An inclusive, accepting, discrimination-free society won’t also become religiously homogeneous over time, nor will an oppressive, xenophobic country be able to assimilate their cultural minorities just by waiting them out while throwing resources at integrating them. Culture-wise, Pops need to be either accepted or harshly dealt with, now or in the future. Being accepting of all faiths today means there will be problems if you backtrack in the future. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for dealing with heterogeneous populations. There are of course a few good examples of countries that already start out with asymmetrical Citizenship and Church and State laws. The Ottoman Empire, home to a lot of cultural and religious minorities, has fairly lenient Citizenship Laws but zero separation of Church and State. As a result they will initially have a lot of both assimilation and conversion, and increasing the rate of those further might be one way for them to try to minimize Turmoil due to discrimination long-term. Meanwhile, the United States has total separation of Church and State (zero religious conversion, but no religious discrimination either) but Racial Segregation laws that cause considerable population segments to be discriminated against, particularly Indigenous- and African-American. Since none of these populations will ever be assimilating unless the Citizenship policy changes, this problem will not just go away on its own. Either the United States changes course legally, or they will have to continue dealing with trouble caused by the oppression of these minorities for the following century. That’s all for this week! Like I hinted above, next week Martin will get into how Unifications work in Victoria 3, which I for one am very excited about!

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