Adding Army attrition and exhaustion, improving the morale mechanic [Suggestion]

What do you think of these ideas?

  • Aye

    Votes: 29 56.9%
  • Meh

    Votes: 9 17.6%
  • Eehh...

    Votes: 4 7.8%
  • Nay

    Votes: 9 17.6%

  • Total voters
    51

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I believe the current morale system is a too shallow to be of much use or effect. Here I want to discuss some potential improvements.

"Food"
Firstly I would change that to 'rations', or supply, has a more arm-y sound to it.

- Remove the penalty from lack of food variety, instead add ....

- A set and customizable regular diet for the army, aka daily rations, deciding ow often soldiers would eat and what they'd eat. These should be very basic things like bread, cheap vegetables, water, and on special occasions, say celebrating after a victory, they could have wines, grapes, fresh meat, and of course, butter. This, along with the addition of camps and these kinds of "celebrations" in a camp or a settlement would increase morale. Adding to the standard amount of rations would increase morale whereas cutting rations further would decrease morale and increase attrition and exhaustion. And so on.

Camp Followers
They are mentioned in the game but we don't see them at all in the gameplay. This would be a nice addition to the game and especially to army morale. Some ideas as to how they could be implemented include:

- First of all, who would they be and what would they do? Let's take inspiration from real life; wives and families of soldiers? Not sure how that could be implemented so let's look at more simpler options, which are the:
Servants, merchants, and prostitutes. The last part might be a little controversial, not historically I mean politically which is unfortunately something devs feel they need to consider these days.
In the case of M&B I always assumed soldiers did everything themselves, so servants could take some weight off their shoulders, increasing morale and decreasing attrition. Also there should be the option to take peasant slaves and make them servants as well. Merchants, I think should be completely independent, maybe when you've visited a settlement or just roaming around in the map they could come to your army and request to hop on, they could be an interesting potential for spy plots. Again these merchants would sell soldiers any good the army doesn't provide, could be alcohol, or better armour or something, which means higher morale. And lastly prostitutes would.. do their thing and increase morale, decreasing exhaustion. Maybe taking slaves as.. no? Too far?

-Besides the options I've stated previously, they could also be hired individually or in complete groups, encountered in taverns or more appropriately on the road, hell, even better when they visit your camp (when they're hopefully eventually added)

Immersive events at army camps (when they're hopefully eventually added)
This is something I wanted to see in general but for now I'll only mention the things related to army morale.

- Giving speeches, I mean, there is a charm skill that doesn't effect the army in the slightest, this could be a good reason. When there's unrest and a possible mutiny in the army, I should be able to begin a speech with the word "Quirites" and solve all the aforementioned problems with a high enough charm level... if you know what I mean.

- Promising your soldiers higher wages (or sth similar)when their exhaustion is high, giving them a reason to push through with war, it would appear as a quest and have a deadline, if the promises aren't held until the deadline morale takes a big hit. If they are, exactly the opposite. Maybe that's too far but hey, Caesar did it, and we can't have a medieval sandbox game that doesn't allow me to RP Caesar.

- The festivals and celebrations I mentioned earlier.

- Training together, or instructing your army personally, performing drills displaying military might could boost morale. Parades in settlements?

Other / Relevant

- General war attrition and army exhaustion could also cause an army to demand to be discharged, the player would have to make an interesting moral choice:
1) Give into their demands, losing perhaps your most experienced and veteran units, even possibly appearing as weak, or merciful.
2) Or, as I've mentioned in the original post, give a speech, the higher your charm skill, more likely it is to work.
3) Threaten and force them to stay in the army, would give you negative honour maybe and decrease loyalty, increase exhaustion, perfect recipe for a mutiny.



I'll add more as ideas come to my mind or if you've anything to add, I can edit it in the thread.
 
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Weather and Terrain
This is a more commonly mentioned one.

-The idea is obviously very basic, if you're in a snowy terrain for example, you'd move slower on the map and attrition would increase. A Sturgian cultural bonus would be to minimize the effects of marching on snowy terrain or unideal weather. Something similar with deserts and that's it.
 

Yangbang

Sergeant
WBWF&SVC
So I like the idea of troop attrition, but how would we implement it in game? What would be the result if troops taking attrition?
 

imgran

Squire
Yes. Needing to rest periodically makes sense.
So I like the idea of troop attrition, but how would we implement it in game? What would be the result if troops taking attrition?
Probably similar to the starvation mechanic that already exists in the game.
 
So I like the idea of troop attrition, but how would we implement it in game? What would be the result if troops taking attrition?
Attrition leads to exhaustion, exhaustion leads to loss of morale and combat effectiveness. Right now neither have much effect on gameplay. Could make it so that units travel slower, respond to commands slower, are more prone to routing and starting a mutiny. So many ideas. Yet too many of the supporting features required are not present.
 

TheSlain

Recruit
In addition to this, which i love the idea of slowing down massive armies of a 1000 troops to actually worry about some logistic. How about war attrition? Raiding towns and villages, killing large armies and nobles barely seem to has an affect on the war. The armies will just replenish so quickly and their economy continue on. If 2 factions are at war, and one lost near 5000-6000 troops, how about some war attrition? Harder to recruit from villages, economy slowing from raids, suing for peace and seeding lands. I just feel M&B is so basic right now, the last M&B was great for its time but lets update it with some amazing new features. Make them optional for players who want a more basic game.
 

Aescon

Recruit
A few ideas popped into my head regarding how this mechanic could potentially work and what would need to be addressed in the current system:

I definitely like the idea of attrition and needing to rest on the map, granted that these waiting periods would be more dynamic and involving interacting with the army in some way (suggestions you posted are all good). The only potential problem that I could see here would be movement in relation to other lords on the campaign map. For example, if a large army has to wait in one place, how will they balance the current army cohesion stat, would cohesion increase for a well-rested and fed army? If someone had a small warband of say fifteen people and they were being pursued by ten pesky looters and suddenly had to take a break from walking would their attackers get a bonus to attacking them while they were camped or conversely defenders a bonus for being stationary and prepared? Could guards/watches be set? Would bands of looters actually have to stop and rest, or find some way to stock up on food to prevent starvation since they can't go into towns and just buy it? Overall a really interesting proposal, there are just some things that would require an alteration of a lot of moving parts and would need some balancing to work, but could be done!
 
If they add attrition they will need to make it so we can't just buy or recruit from enemy villages. I've always hated it when the AI takes cities across the map whilst recruiting and getting food from enemy villages (I do that too and it should be changed). Also make it so units suffer more attrition in desert and snow areas. The exception could be if units are from those areas (Sturgian units suffer less attrition in snow etc) or if it depends on the players culture.
 
A few ideas popped into my head regarding how this mechanic could potentially work and what would need to be addressed in the current system:
Whoo boy here we go.
The only potential problem that I could see here would be movement in relation to other lords on the campaign map. For example, if a large army has to wait in one place, how will they balance the current army cohesion stat, would cohesion increase for a well-rested and fed army?
I have to admit I'm not exactly sure how the current army cohesion system works, but as far as I can tell, I don't really like it along with the influence system for several reasons which are not relevant to this discussion. But logically yes, a well supplied and maintained army is an ideal army.
If someone had a small warband of say fifteen people and they were being pursued by ten pesky looters and suddenly had to take a break from walking would their attackers get a bonus to attacking them while they were camped or conversely defenders a bonus for being stationary and prepared?
If it was made so that your army had to stop and encamp every night, it would be more frustrating than anything, I feel, I would propose that armies on average, all other suggested factors considered, would be able to march non-stop for an in-game week or less, after that, attrition would begin to increase and spiral further if it remains unaddressed. Else I can do nought but pray that no looter may chase you for a week non-stop :smile:
As for the defending of a camp. There have been threads suggesting upgradable and mobile camps, even fortresses. They would take time to set up and build depending on how many men were in the army of course, camp raids are an idea, I'll discuss that further on your next statement.
Could guards/watches be set?
Of course, you would choose the units yourself for effectiveness, and obviously the more men on patrol the less rested an army. Possibilities are endless... chances of them being implemented very low, at least for the foreseeable future.
Would bands of looters actually have to stop and rest, or find some way to stock up on food to prevent starvation since they can't go into towns and just buy it?
I would guess small bands of looters can forage food for themselves, it's a believable excuse.
 
-Armies should require rest every day, or every 2 days, in order to keep up their morale and in order to be able to march at max pace. I'd like to see a slightly longer day/night cycle TBH. This would allow for a realistic daily rest cycle.

-Non Aserai armies in desert terrain should suffer a morale penalty, movement speed reduction, and hitpoint reduction for marching or fighting in the heat of the day. Say -3% health a day for non Aserai troops that are marching or fighting in the middle of the day in desert terrain. So basically moving at night is your best option though fighting or traveling at night should have danger involved for foreign troops.

-Non Sturgian troops in snowy terrain should suffer a morale penalty and hitpoint reduction for marching or fighting at night. Basically resting at night is your best option for non sturgian armies in snowy terrain.

-Night time working to advantage of "local" forces. Basically fighting in your own back yard should give the "home team" some sort of advantage when fighting or moving at night.

-"The night is dark and full of terrors". Moving around at night should open up the player(and NPCs) to the threat of ambush from bandits and other unforeseen dangers. This would require an ambush mechanic and ambush maps on the campaign map where the ambushing party has a tactical advantage and starts at very close quarters to their prey.
 
General war attrition and army exhaustion could also cause an army to demand to be discharged, the player would have to make an interesting moral choice:
1) Give into their demands, losing perhaps your most experienced and veteran units, even possibly appearing as weak, or merciful.
2) Or, as I've mentioned in the original post, give a speech, the higher your charm skill, more likely it is to work.
3) Threaten and force them to stay in the army, would give you negative honour maybe and decrease loyalty, increase exhaustion, perfect recipe for a mutiny.
 

Pensaci

Sergeant
This sure can make an army/party feels more like it, which is a big part of war.

Attrition need a detailed craft because it sure easy to just add sort of terrain modifier but that won't work well. I think the hard part is camp related ideas. But Viking Conquest had a similar camp system already. Also if this is available it would be easier to do similar events and scenes as well, like you already mentioned festivals, celebrations, and parade, meeting, etc.
 

Pensaci

Sergeant
would cohesion increase for a well-rested and fed army?
Oh right... there is such a thing as cohesion. It's just a decreasing counter right now I always barely noticed it. Then I believe devs have some reserve on this topic as well
 
Cohesion right now serves no purpose except disbands your army when you have no cohesion. I exploited this by disbanding my army early and calling in the nobles that were in my army. Cohesion is full again.
 

Gambles

Sergeant at Arms
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
sure let's **** around with camps, morale, food, speeches all this crap when they can't even appropriately balance the **** they already have.
 

Pensaci

Sergeant
Cohesion right now serves no purpose except disbands your army when you have no cohesion. I exploited this by disbanding my army early and calling in the nobles that were in my army. Cohesion is full again.
Yep...it's almost a placeholder I think.
 
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Kharille

Knight at Arms
Thinking about Lezalit. We never really got to whip our soldiers. Maybe that'll 'raise' morale in short term and lead to negative losses over time? Just one suggestion.
 
Thinking about Lezalit. We never really got to whip our soldiers. Maybe that'll 'raise' morale in short term and lead to negative losses over time? Just one suggestion.
Army training policies, yes, a good idea. More intense / forced training would maximise XP gain efficiency but decrease morale. Pretty simple in theory, actually.
 

TrashMan

Regular
All armies should automatically stop and make a camp at night (and when exhausted) UNLESS forced march is turned on.
Camp followers, logistics should definitely be a thing.

It would be as a simple as
a) pack animmals and supplies with an army
b) automatic supply caravans that travel from friendly villages/towns (that aren't raided/besieged) to your army and can be intercepted.

An army with a big supplies and camp followers in tow is more resillient to disruption, but slower.
An army with supply caravans moves faster, but is vulnerable to logistical disruption.
 
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