Have not seen this discussed much in this forum, yet i think this idea of "breeding" leaders could have a huge effect on the game. This could really be a sort of game within a game if done right- and since there does not have to be any graphics involved it may not be that hard to have a genetic/political/social system that could continue to surprise -long after you have played the game many times.
I am not very organized so below are some random thoughts on this matter that i hope other folks might comment or expand on:
Genetic system (simple) - a simple system would be to allow a 50% chance of inheiriting either your father's or mother's traits for a given characterists. This way there is no blending of specific traits and its easy for you to calculate the likelyhood of getting a certain trait.
Genetic system (complex -this would be more similar to the way real genetics works-some genes are masked by dominent genes, some traits are blended, some important traits are controled by more than one gene). This would be more realistic (and maybe more mysterious) but harder to predict outcomes. The outcomes would be hard for players to calculate but still it would be a simple thing for a coputer to calculate. I sort of like the simple system myself (with in inclusion of mutations).
Mutations-the human would could start with a standard set of genes (alleles really) but there could be a rare chance (1 in 50 births?) that a mutation could appear giving which could produce a better (or worse) allele for that trait. This may really force you to think about finding a way to let the third son be king or marrying off the daughter to a fraction that you will be friends with for a long time (so that the special allele (gene) could be breed back into the line of kings. Or it may force you to consider incest.
Breeding and social norms: As one may of making these all-human fractions different- they could have different social norms. for instance:
-only males can be king.
-only females can be rulers.
-both males and females are OK.
-incest if strictly taboo-any attempt at this will likely cause some sort of rebellion, loss of faiths, loss of vassel states, ect.
-incest encouraged-sort of a xenophobic society where mates brought in from out of the country cause political unrest.
-religeous societies- can only marry those similar allignment (fallen can only marry fallen) -otherwise political unrest.
-open society- perhaps trade is more important than morals- can marry anyone
-strict customs whereby people will only accept leadership from the first born.
-not so strict-people expect that the king will choose the best successor for his offspring-whoever that may be.
Breeding and politics events
Infidelity-Arranged marriges to not alway work. If too many social norms and allignments are crossed -there may be a greater chance that the union fails and political rest (displayed as lower productivity or the ability to amass troups or less dipolmatic power or loss of vassel states) may result. This could be modified by the trait of "passivity or willfulness"--you may want to breen passive sons and daughter who will do what they are told (for political stability)- but they will likely not be the best leaders.
-event-infertility--every now and then there is a chance that no childern are produced in a royal union. Polical unrest is increased for a bit and you have to go back down the bloodline.
-True love- every now and then, love between between two people will not be denied despite you best efforts. You will just have to make the best go of the situation. Not likley with passive folks but more likely for willful characters.
Incest-an easy way to keep good genes in the family and holding onto power if socially acceptable. But to represent inbreeding there should be a 10% each generation of gaining a deleterious gene.
-The standard traits should exist that have already been developed and somewhat standardized (intelligence, strength, wisdom, ect) and should be included. Some others that may be interesting to include are:
-passivity/willfulness -passive offspring to exactly what you want but lack a certain spark that produces exceptional leaders. One the other hand exceptional leaders are hard to control and might marry agaist your will. But will be likely well-loved by the people (less political unrest for any infractions) and be a great leader.
-magic ability?-Sure, why not? maybe having a gene that gives a leader access or bonuses for learning/casting magic. Putting together a magical royal court could be fun.
-Diplomancy- better relationships with other countries
-leadership ability- increases moral of troups and nation productivity. Vassels tend to remain alligned with them.
-innate hunting skills-
-innate fight skills
-innate farming skills?
-innate trading skills?
-talk with dragons? (very rare)-maybe your great great great great great great great grand mother had an affair with a dragon? Inreased ability to get along with dragons (or other monsters?)
-far-sight-has scout abilities-can see farther?
-naturally good with animals?-better riding skills?
-ability to predict the future- has warning (a few turn ahead of actual event) of any random event?
Deleterious traits-harder to marry off any of these.
hunchback- hard to marry off. increase chance of infidelity if married.
hemophilia -blood won't clot- should not go into battle-dies if hit.
dimwitted-poor leader in general. General decline of kingdom if leader.
blind-increases the chance of having a far-seeing or future-seeing gene.
Well, since we have come this far -(if we have this system set up anyway) it would be fun to throw in some genes/traits that have no effect on the game but can be used as flavor the the basis of some insults in a multi-player game:
-baldness -"death to all harry people!"
-unnaturally short or tall
I think Brad hinted that here could be certain genetic combinations that produced surprising results. Again lots of room for surprises here.