Coming now to the other qualities mentioned above, I say that every prince ought to desire to be considered clement and not cruel. Nevertheless he ought to take care not to misuse this clemency. Cesare Borgia was considered cruel; notwithstanding, his cruelty reconciled the Romagna, unified it, and restored it to peace and loyalty. And if this be rightly considered, he will be seen to have been much more merciful than the Florentine people, who, to avoid a reputation for cruelty, permitted Pistoia to be destroyed.(*) Therefore a prince, so long as he keeps his subjects united and loyal, ought not to mind the reproach of cruelty; because with a few examples he will be more merciful than those who, through too much mercy, allow disorders to arise, from which follow murders or robberies; for these are wont to injure the whole people, whilst those executions which originate with a prince offend the individual only.
- Nicolo Machiavelli: The Prince, CHAPTER XVII — CONCERNING CRUELTY AND CLEMENCY, AND WHETHER IT IS BETTER TO BE LOVED THAN FEARED
One area where I think Master of Magic was quite interesting - but underdeveloped - was the concept of Fame. Fame would allow your wizard (avatar) to pay less upkeep for troops, because people would be more willing to fight for him. Fame would attract mightier heroes and more mecrenaries would show up to fight for your cause.
Fame would increase when you found new cities, win big enough battles without using dirty tricks like paralysing enemy units, banishing wizards etc. Fame would decrease for losing cities and big battles, slaughtering cities.
I think that instead of using a simple strict scale like in MOM, elemental would be more interesting if it had two fame counters: one for Popularity (Loyalty), one for Fear. Some actions could increase Popularity (founding cities, winning battles) while others would increase your Fear rating (slaughtering innocents, being unnecessarily cruel, using dark magicks). Some could increase both, or increase one but lower the other. I think Fear and Popularity should be, to a certain degree, mutually exclusive. It should be significantly harder to be both Popular and Feared than either Popular or Feared. This would give players some long-term goals, and playing in a certain way would yield different benefits. Furthermore, I think it's just more fitting in a game that lets you play as Fallen.
Some ideas below.
- units fight better. Army believes their cause is just etc.
- you attract great and virtuous people, advisors and heroes
- population is unitied in support for you. Your cities are harder to infiltrate for enemy spies and assasins.
- people respect you even if you're not powerful.
- army is more disciplined. Mutiny is rare. There are fewer willful commanders who compromise your orders for personal gain. Soldiers are less likely to act on their will and plunder, rape etc. (unless explicitely allowed)
- Lower crime, because it's harshly punished.
- If your Fear rating is much higher than Popularity rating, you're increasingly perceived as a despot. This makes you vulnerable to enemy spies, assasins, betrayals. You're only respected as long as you're powerful. You have to rule with iron fist.
- you attract various shady characters, necromancers, murderers.
What do you think ? Machiaveli's stance on the issue:
Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with. Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life, and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you. (...)
Nevertheless a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred; because he can endure very well being feared whilst he is not hated, which will always be as long as he abstains from the property of his citizens and subjects and from their women. But when it is necessary for him to proceed against the life of someone, he must do it on proper justification and for manifest cause, but above all things he must keep his hands off the property of others, because men more quickly forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony.
Among the wonderful deeds of Hannibal this one is enumerated: that having led an enormous army, composed of many various races of men, to fight in foreign lands, no dissensions arose either among them or against the prince, whether in his bad or in his good fortune. This arose from nothing else than his inhuman cruelty, which, with his boundless valour, made him revered and terrible in the sight of his soldiers, but without that cruelty, his other virtues were not sufficient to produce this effect. And short-sighted writers admire his deeds from one point of view and from another condemn the principal cause of them. That it is true his other virtues would not have been sufficient for him may be proved by the case of Scipio, that most excellent man, not only of his own times but within the memory of man, against whom, nevertheless, his army rebelled in Spain; this arose from nothing but his too great forbearance, which gave his soldiers more license than is consistent with military discipline. For this he was upbraided in the Senate by Fabius Maximus, and called the corrupter of the Roman soldiery.