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Important: put this mod last in the mod load order.
This mod is designed to work with my other mods (see Batyushki's Modpack), so to get the full benefit of this mod make sure it is loaded last in the mod list, and include as many of my production mods as possible. This is not a requirement, but will make gameplay more interesting.
The vanilla game comes with the Estates menu, which allows you to unlock some buildings by gaining Influence with one of three Estates (the People, the King, and the Church). This mod expands on that idea by putting almost every building in the Estate menu. Instead of unlocking a building when you reach a certain population milestone, every building must be unlocked by earning Influence with an Estate.
You can now unlock buildings in a much more flexible order, allowing you to change the progression of each game. All buildings are available once you have one Commoner. For example, all church types are available directly from the Estates menu, allowing you to build a large variety of churches early in the game without having to win Blueprints in battle.
There are now many more ways to get (and lose) Influence. On the 15th day of each month you are presented with a choice between three random decisions which can increase your influence with one Estate, and possibly decrease it with another Estate. Decisions can also impact production, happiness, immigration, and villager consumption.
The beginning of the game has been reworked. Instead of arriving with no food or water, you get a Handcart which dispenses bread and water (and coal for those using the Fuel mod). These initial supplies are limited, but they give you time to unlock production buildings and start your economy. Some other small changes have been made: the Hunter's Hut is available at the beginning of the game so that you can either forage for berries or hunt for game. The number of workers in certain buildings has been reduced to be more realistic with the reworked starting parameters.
Milestones celebrate your progress: when you reach 100, 200, and 300 inhabitants (Serfs and above), the King will give you special rewards of gold and resources. Masterpieces unlock at each stage of population growth, but most masterpieces have the same unlock conditions as the vanilla game. You also get extra Clergy influence each time you build a different type of church.
This mod doesn't stop you from making fatal errors: if you waste your Influence on the wrong things and consume your resources too early, you could find yourself at a dead end without the ability to progress. Budget your Estate purchases carefully!
Splendor has been removed as a requirement for unlocking items in the Estate menu. I find it too confusing to keep track of both Influence and Splendor, especially since the icons for each are hard to distinguish.