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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: The Caravan: Let them starve.

  1. #21
    Perhaps an approach from another game might be a useful thought to throw in the mix. Europa Universalis has a 'stability' modifier for your realm. It starts at 0, but can be increased to +3 or decreased to -3.

    The stability affects random events that fire. The higher your stability, the more likely positive events are. The lower your stability, the more likely negative events occur.

    Perhaps something like that could be used for banner saga. The lower your morale, the more likely 'difficult' situations will happen. But if you have high morale, you are more likely to receive nice events.

    So for example this might mean that the 'mutiny' event could possibly be avoided with high morale and a bit of luck (which makes sense anyway). But if your morale is in the pits, then mutiny is assured.

  2. #22
    Superbacker quartex's Avatar
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    That's exactly how Stoic described the events as working in kickstarter update #34 - bad morale causes worse events to happen:

    "How we decided to represent it is by attaching morale to the events that pop up along your travels. If you’ve been treating the caravan poorly, marching too hard, making dangerous decisions, their morale decreases. The lower morale gets, the more likely you are to be receiving negative events along the way - in-fighting, people splitting off, people causing trouble. All of these are presented to the player not as numbers changing, but as conversations and events. Hopefully it seems invisible to the player, but they can feel that the caravan is unhappy just by how it has been acting."

    "We’ve worked out a design for what we’re calling “Quest Pool” (a “Quest” is our shorthand for an event or series of events that can occur). The crux of it is that we have a bucket that the events fall into, and it prioritizes which ones to give to the player. As the player makes decisions, they alter the “Quest Pool” behind the scenes. Certain events rise to the top to represent the actions that the player is taking, so instead of things happening randomly, you’ll play a part in the kind of problems you face. A player who keeps his caravan in high spirits will have a very different experience from one who thinks they don’t have worry about stuff like “morale”."

    Not sure if this is still how the game works.

  3. #23
    having watched some other people play it (namely TB research stream, among others), the events seem to be all the same

    that's only the beginning of the game though, so I don't really know

  4. #24
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quartex View Post
    That's exactly how Stoic described the events as working in kickstarter update #34 - bad morale causes worse events to happen
    Sounds like a vicious cycle! Bad morale ==> Bad events ==> Morale drops more... What's the "comeback mechanism" to get out of that? Doing well in battle/war, picking those second-wave attacks, special events like Godstones?
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  5. #25
    Junior Member Zekram Bogg's Avatar
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    The big issue is that clansmen are dead weight, possibly adding up to an ultimate "better ending" at the end of chapter 3, but that's too long a way off to consider in a playthrough of chapter 1, and thus is pointless for where we are today.

    At least the fighters and Varl seem like they do stuff in the wars and are factored into holding the walls at Boersgard. Of course, the player doesn't know this until they get there, and that's at the end of the game, so that's less than optimal too.

    Right now, the optimal strategy is to bleed off as many clansmen as possible as early as possible to let your supplies go on a lot longer for the remainder of the game.

    Here are some ideas to Buff Clansmen:

    > Clansmen act as a renown booster. After all, ostensibly your battles and wars are for their benefit, so the more clansmen you have when you win a battle, the more renown you get from said battle. I forget how many you start with, but I ended the game with about 290 didn't starve much, and won most battles. I lost all my fighters on the walls of Boersgard while I secured supplies and shelter for the Clansmen too. I'm guessing 300 Clansmen is a "B" grade on Clansmen retention.

    So lets say at every 75 Clansmen, you get 1 extra renown per battle, as these clansmen "spread the tale amongst themselves". This way, at 300 Clansmen, I'm getting 4 extra renown per battle that I win. Thus letting me buy more supplies and/or items/levels et cetera. However if I lose enough of them, and starvation should hit Clansmen first and hardest, not the tougher fighers and Varl, I begin to get less renown from winning battles or from events.

    If we want to make this system even more complex, then it can go negative too, so that if I go below a particular number of clansmen, I start getting Renown penalties. If at zero clansmen I get -5 renown per battle it would make the game tougher, not easier.

    > Clansmen have a "forage" chance while you travel. The more of them you have, the higher the chance. This makes it so that they'll find you spots where you find supplies, or items, or even trigger extra events that can earn you renown/force a decision.

    > Clansmen limits on the number of heroes in your roster. Basically, other heroes will only follow someone others want to follow themselves. If you don't have enough clansmen, you heroes can bail because they don't see you as an effective leader. If every 25 clansmen net you one extra hero slot on your roster past a base number (I'd think 4) it'd be an interesting reason to keep them. That said, this would make the game much more likely to be unwinnable by starving your clansmen.

    Also, that would break how Hakon's caravan with its ZERO clansmen work. So maybe we need to look at the cumulative Caravan here? I dunno.

    Anyway, those are some thoughts.

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Aleonymous View Post
    Sounds like a vicious cycle! Bad morale ==> Bad events ==> Morale drops more... What's the "comeback mechanism" to get out of that? Doing well in battle/war, picking those second-wave attacks, special events like Godstones?
    Uh...do better on one's next playthrough, I guess?

  7. #27
    Junior Member FfSsBb's Avatar
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    It never occurred to me to do something like this. Granted, I only played through the game on normal once, but I never felt the urge to game the system in any way. What possible reason could you have for letting your caravan starve besides power gaming a story driven RPG? It is not my place to tell anyone how they should play a video game but I didn't need any mechanical incentive to keep my caravan well fed and happy as long as I could (didn't work of course). So from my point of view there is no need to adjust anything with the caravan mechanic.

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Zekram Bogg View Post
    Here are some ideas to Buff Clansmen:

    > Clansmen act as a renown booster. After all, ostensibly your battles and wars are for their benefit, so the more clansmen you have when you win a battle, the more renown you get from said battle. I forget how many you start with, but I ended the game with about 290 didn't starve much, and won most battles. I lost all my fighters on the walls of Boersgard while I secured supplies and shelter for the Clansmen too. I'm guessing 300 Clansmen is a "B" grade on Clansmen retention.

    So lets say at every 75 Clansmen, you get 1 extra renown per battle, as these clansmen "spread the tale amongst themselves". This way, at 300 Clansmen, I'm getting 4 extra renown per battle that I win. Thus letting me buy more supplies and/or items/levels et cetera. However if I lose enough of them, and starvation should hit Clansmen first and hardest, not the tougher fighers and Varl, I begin to get less renown from winning battles or from events.
    This is probably the most elegant solution to the 'clansmen problem'. With respect to Hakon's caravan with zero clansmen, I don't think this solution breaks at all - Hakon's caravan just gets less Renown per fight. This is actually just fine for Hakon's caravan since they effectively have no supply problems to begin with (so they don't need the extra Renown for buying supplies). As long as the mechanic was clearly shown (e.g. a small splash at the end result that says +X Renown from clansmen acclaim or something) I think this solves most of the issues with clansmen; now it makes sense to want to take on refugees if you can protect them, while still letting bringing too many clansmen potentially harmful, which I think neatly aligns mechanic with story.

  9. #29
    Senior Member roder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yellow View Post
    I have to disagree, as a person who has never cared about game stats/archivements, this would only look in my eyes as a "cheap solution" to what can be considered the game biggest flaw. It would feel very hollow and it would by no means fix anything really, is like having a leek on the roof and putting some tape on it...
    yes you have a good point, many gamers do not care about an endgame score.

    for those that do not know, varl/fighters dont matter either. the dredge number encountered in war is adjusted according to your fighters/varl, have a lot of fights/varl, have a lot of dredge. have 0 population, well then you face very low dredge lol the populations of clansmen/varl/fighters are all arbitary at the moment

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by FfSsBb View Post
    What possible reason could you have for letting your caravan starve besides power gaming a story driven RPG?
    Because if you do, it makes the game easier. The caravan is currently frivolous, it is aesthetic. It serves no purpose outside of a non-enforced RP experience.

    But they should matter. I should suffer consequences for treating my caravan this way. I do not, and that is a serious flaw.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zekram Bogg View Post
    REALLY GOOD STUFF!
    I like everything Zekram is talking about. Anything along those lines would add pressure to keep that caravan alive.

  11. #31
    Superbacker quartex's Avatar
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    I'm disappointed to hear that the number of people in your caravan doesn't even affect war battles, but I guess this is a case where the narrative is more important than the simulation. (Stoic wants you to be outnumbered for certain battles because it makes a better story, no matter how many people you have) I hope in Chapter 2 they can add actual consequences to the size of your Caravan (besides how much food you eat).

    I waited in Singholm for 50 days, just to see what would happen. And the funny thing is that as my caravan slowly starved to death my morale stayed high (presumably because I was resting). I was also surprised that after X number of days I didn't encounter an event forcing me to leave.

  12. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by roder View Post
    for those that do not know, varl/fighters dont matter either. the dredge number encountered in war is adjusted according to your fighters/varl, have a lot of fights/varl, have a lot of dredge. have 0 population, well then you face very low dredge lol the populations of clansmen/varl/fighters are all arbitary at the moment
    I was thinking about this earlier today...why not make the number of Dredge in wars independent of the number of fighters/Varl in the caravan? Just have each fight have a random amount of Dredge within a predetermined range (influenced by difficulty, of course). That would give some incentive to maintain as many fighters/Varl as possible.

  13. #33
    Senior Member Yellow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roder View Post
    varl/fighters dont matter either. the dredge number encountered in war is adjusted according to your fighters/varl, have a lot of fights/varl, have a lot of dredge. have 0 population, well then you face very low dredge lol the populations of clansmen/varl/fighters are all arbitary at the moment
    I know, and i was very disappointed when i learned about this;

    What is the point then with recruiting anybody at all?
    What is the point in giving you different "war options", including the option to flee, when there is no pressure nor need for it?

    While i can understand the developers not wanting to punish too hard the players for making bad desitions, i think the way they did it, contradicts the entire "your choices have consecuences" mechanic.

    Not only does we need something done with the clansmen, but the "wars" also need some tweaking, to start with: the removal of the escalating enemies according to your own troops, that would be a fine start...
    "Forged by Fire; Empowered by Passion"

  14. #34
    I don't think this is the sort og game that wants to be a war simulator and punish us with loosing stuff, it is clear to me that they want us to feel bad. That is the whole point, and if starving people don't make you sad you are most likely playing the wrong game.

    All though i find the "more clansmen gives more renown" tempting i also think the whole point with how it is, is to make renown/currency hard to come by so that we are forced to choose and make decisions that feels bad no matter what we choose to spend it on.

    So, is there something that can be done to perhaps make the clansmen more interesting and/or active so as to bond more with them??

  15. #35
    What about:
    1. Giving every clansman a randomly generated name and a small infopanel about where they are originally from, their profession, and who they are related to, when we hover over them in the travel-screen
    2. Making the camp-screen more interactive, by making it possible to deside where the diffrent tents are, their color, building new "special tents" like a yox-breeding-pen, a infirmary-tent etc. (Number of yox should inpact how much we can carry)
    3. Have numbers also for children, sheeps, cows, animal-fodder etc, and make them able to sustain themselves a little by herding,hunting and foraging,and trading when in towns, a little like in King of Dragon Pass where these numbers constantly needs to be corrected.

  16. #36
    Superbacker StandSure's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poison_Berrie View Post
    And perhaps have clansmen gather stuff during rest; occasionally adding to your supply, finding something that boost moral or returning with an item (with a chance of losing some of them to various dangers).
    Yes, I really like this idea. I had a really rough patch where my caravan was starving and I felt like a poor leader. But what really bothered me was that I couldn't DO anything about it, even though I knew it was coming. I remember specifically thinking "can't we go into these woods and hunt or gather more food?" or "the next town is a long way off...can't I put the caravan on really strict rations from the start, instead of eating a normal rate, then starving for several days later?" It was frustrating because I felt like I had practical solutions but no way to implement them. Heck, my people had by chance already scavenged some berries for food miles back...couldn't we look for some more?
    Let the Sleeping Dog Lie!

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  17. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by FfSsBb View Post
    It never occurred to me to do something like this. Granted, I only played through the game on normal once, but I never felt the urge to game the system in any way. What possible reason could you have for letting your caravan starve besides power gaming a story driven RPG?
    No reason whatsoever. And that's exactly the problem.

    Ideally, the "optimal" style of play for a videogame should be the way that most strongly supports the game's story and whatever feelings the developers wanted you to experience. Narrative incentives that tell you to act one way and mechanical incentives that tell you to act another way creates a ludonarrative dissonance that any design team worth their salt should try to avoid.

    I played through my first game working hard to do a "High Spirits" run, and barely managed it. I was proud of myself, but looking back I feel kind of annoyed that I put in all that work for what were basically numbers on a screen. My clansmen didn't even thank me for it.

  18. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Blarg_the_Viking View Post
    No reason whatsoever. And that's exactly the problem.

    Ideally, the "optimal" style of play for a videogame should be the way that most strongly supports the game's story and whatever feelings the developers wanted you to experience. Narrative incentives that tell you to act one way and mechanical incentives that tell you to act another way creates a ludonarrative dissonance that any design team worth their salt should try to avoid.

    I played through my first game working hard to do a "High Spirits" run, and barely managed it. I was proud of myself, but looking back I feel kind of annoyed that I put in all that work for what were basically numbers on a screen. My clansmen didn't even thank me for it.
    But if you to truly believe that the optimal thing is to do as the developers wanted, should we not then stay away from for instance renown rewards for keeping people alive, if the motivation for keeping them alive is reward related all the emotions they want us to feel is gone..?
    Should we not rather focus on emotional rewards of some kind?

  19. #39
    Junior Member Eurydice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aslee4 View Post
    This is probably the most elegant solution to the 'clansmen problem'. With respect to Hakon's caravan with zero clansmen, I don't think this solution breaks at all - Hakon's caravan just gets less Renown per fight. This is actually just fine for Hakon's caravan since they effectively have no supply problems to begin with (so they don't need the extra Renown for buying supplies). As long as the mechanic was clearly shown (e.g. a small splash at the end result that says +X Renown from clansmen acclaim or something) I think this solves most of the issues with clansmen; now it makes sense to want to take on refugees if you can protect them, while still letting bringing too many clansmen potentially harmful, which I think neatly aligns mechanic with story.
    I agree, I really like Zekram Bogg's suggestions, especially the first two. They seem quit straightforward to implement, not gamebreaking (the values could be adjusted by Stoic) and could lead to a far more immersive experience when it comes to trying to keep your caravan alive.

  20. #40
    Superbacker StandSure's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmblaWinterblade View Post
    But if you to truly believe that the optimal thing is to do as the developers wanted, should we not then stay away from for instance renown rewards for keeping people alive, if the motivation for keeping them alive is reward related all the emotions they want us to feel is gone..?
    Should we not rather focus on emotional rewards of some kind?
    I would agree, but it seemed like the emotional impact was missing as well. The day my caravan started to starve, I felt terrible. I'd seen it coming, but there was nothing I could do about it. People died under my care. But then...nothing. More people died, and morale was stuck at low, but the caravan kept going. Nobody complained, nobody left (for food reasons). And at Boersgard, I basically found a shelf to sit the remaining clansmen on, and the narrative finished up without them. I had really expected things to get bleak, but instead felt like I "got away with it."

    Maybe upon replay I will see how different things could be if everyone ate, but I still would have liked some kind of clearer connection to the number of clansmen in the caravan. Heck even something where at the very end, you are looking over the crowd and think either "the hundreds of familiar faces remind you that you are not alone, the struggle has not been fruitless, and the legacy of Skogr will live on through your people" or "the handful of surviving clansmen reminds you of how much else was lost in the journey...has it been worth it?" There just doesn't seem to be any acknowledgement in the narrative of the success/failure of the caravan.
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