Buffing Sturgia - introduce deadlier winters with food shortages & starvation risk.

Pancakelord333

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So right now steam says I've played bannerlord for 98 hours, and something that has stood out to me across the various hotfix versions of the game is Sturgia's constant, total, destruction. All the time. It's either the mongol hordes from the east, or the battanians or even the Vlandians wiping them out.

Now there are, of course, balancing issues (lots of unit stats have not been finely tuned yet) and simulation issues causing snowballing.
But I want to suggest something that might play to Sturgia's themes (a mix of Rus and Scandinavians) some more and also help them out during the winter months to minimise snowballing.

Sturgia's current racial bonus is a pretty forgettable "20% less slowdown in snow on the world map"
1) I propose Sturgia's bonus be changed to:
  • "X% less food upkeep for troops in winter [when above the snow-line]" (perhaps 50% less)
2) I'd also make it so that army food upkeep varies with the season:
  • All other empire troops (except Sturgians) consume twice as much (i.e. +100%) food in winter [when above the snow-line] when they are not stationed in a city.
    • When troops are stationed in a city - either in a garrison, or just an army "waiting" in the city walls (in winter/above the snow line), this extra food cost is negated.
In addition to this, I've also been looking at villages, they tend to produce anywhere from 1-4 grain a day, all year round (if grain is not their main production focus, they produce much more grain if it is their production focus) and this output doesn't seem to vary much with the seasons.
3) I would change village output so that:
  • Villages above the world map's snowline [i.e. villages in the snowy bit] produce half as many food products each day (so not just grain, but also olives, dates etc) in winter seasons.
    • This will mean that the northern empires are always hungrier in the winter and will need to prioritise granaries - or go to war southward to raid for food.
    • (I haven't played around much with fief management, but maybe the sturgian cities could get a bonus starting granary level to reflect their adaptation to the winter).
These above three changes in bold would add additional strategic pressures on non-sturgian armies.
  • Non-sturgians would have to spend more time preparing for an invasion into Sturgia - or for any invasion campaigns in the winter.
    • And the fact that staying in cities would negate the extra food cost means that non-sturgian empires can "hold up" for winter, and wait till warmer months.
    • This would help to minimise snowballing vs Sturgia, as other empires would need to retreat to their keeps until spring. Or head south.
  • The Sturgians, by contrast, would be able to use the winter months to their advantage:
    • Their armies would be able to range out further, unmolested by their enemies who are hiding in their cities.
    • As it would be easier for Sturgians to support their troops food needs in the snow vs other empires.
  • This would actually give other empires a reason to use the "slaughter livestock / horses" mechanic.
    • e.g. If a vlandian army is sieging a sturgian city, and is far from home and running out of food, they could slaughter their extra horses/mules to keep feeding their troops... for a while.
    • Or it might force an otherwise overwhelming force to abort their sieges/invasions and break up their army to raid the northern countryside to try and force peasants to give them food.
  • This would also make starvationa real risk in the north in the winter months if you go in unprepared - or are not a Sturgian.
    • Currently starvation, is a very under-utilised mechanic, it's next to impossible to run out of food as you can easily buy enough grain or edible products from any village - even in the middle of winter.
    • For those who havent tested it out, after a day or two of no food your troops, companions and your hero begin losing health until you die.
  • This would also give caravans a new trading dynamic, they could make a lot more money by transporting food north in the winter.
Thoughts?
 

TheWitchIzalith

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I think the problem is training the AI for it, but I agree that it is a neat concept.

Prior to them getting rid of the Ranged Accuracy Debuff at night, the thought of Sturgian Troops descending at Night during Winter to raid and pillage was amazing.

Like some sort of Viking Vampires, the heavy infantry come crashing down at night, negating Ranged armies and moving too quickly in the snow to be escaped.
 

Pancakelord333

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I think the problem is training the AI for it, but I agree that it is a neat concept.
Indeed the AI is the holdup here. But, depending on how it's been designed, it might not need as much work to adapt to increased food costs.
AI armies/parties already have to stockpile food for troops and already visit villages when recruiting troops, so a lot of the logic should be there, written up already.

The main thing for this is getting it to also consider the date when planning (to set stockpile size accordingly), as if it is near/in winter this will increase its food needs (and weighting this lower for the Styrgian AI).

I do hope TW considers this, despite the potential work involved, as it would actually make raiding villages in autumn/winter a viable way to slow a rampaging army, adding viable seasonal strategies to the game. As the enemy wont be able to feed its troops, making it act to protect its food-bearing villages, or force it's armies to disperse and look for food or, as a last resort, retreat to their warm cities in the winter months and wait for spring (letting styrgians venture out to recapture land they lost in the summer - or run wild and pillage in the long cold nights lol).
 

Maniccc

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Your comment makes sense, but assuming Sturgia actually gets troops balanced out so they don't get slaughtered every time they go to war, then those changes will make Sturgia OP in Sturgia. So the costs for Sturgia to invade would be lower than to invade Sturgia. Granted, that would be realistic, but then we'd have Sturgia wiping out everyone else.
 

Pancakelord333

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Your comment makes sense, but assuming Sturgia actually gets troops balanced out so they don't get slaughtered every time they go to war, then those changes will make Sturgia OP in Sturgia. So the costs for Sturgia to invade would be lower than to invade Sturgia. Granted, that would be realistic, but then we'd have Sturgia wiping out everyone else.
Perhaps, but at the same time they do still share borders / fight with Battania, Northern empire, Khuzaits and for some odd reason Vlandia fights them a lot too. Often all at once.

Their geography is extremely porous - the mongols can ride in and snatch up Tyal/Sibir unopposed whenever they want and the batanians can move quickly through all their forests (ive seen battanians beeline for Revyl and the sturgians cant keep up sometimes), so I honestly think they could do with the help - or their troops are going to need to be overly strong (they'll need to be able to keep pace with the best horse archers, best lance-knights and the best long-bowmen in the game) just to keep them around for more than a few years to compensate for that dodgy geography.

The only other empire with geography that really harms it is the Aserai (they tend to get shrunk down to just 1-2 cities in my games, never able to expand) as they have just 2 entries to their empire, this lets enemies funnel in from the west and east and conquer everything quickly (over exposing + splitting the Aserai armies on 2 fronts) - and aserai units already are good, so fixing the sturgian troops probably wont be enough to keep them alive, if this is much to go by.
 
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zMasterofPie

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+1. I play as Sturgia and they definitely need some sort of buff, not to mention better armor variety. Somehow on my current playthrough we have actually taken more cities than we've lost, and I haven't even helped all that much. But this is the only time that's happened.

Seriously though they need more armor. The loading screens with Sturgia are showing stuff that isn't in the game, and it should be. Their item variety is absolute crap.
 

Maniccc

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Perhaps, but at the same time they do still share borders / fight with Battania, Northern empire, Khuzaits and for some odd reason Vlandia fights them a lot too. Often all at once.

Their geography is extremely porous - the mongols can ride in and snatch up Tyal/Sibir unopposed whenever they want and the batanians can move quickly through all their forests (ive seen battanians beeline for Revyl and the sturgians cant keep up sometimes), so I honestly think they could do with the help - or their troops are going to need to be overly strong (they'll need to be able to keep pace with the best horse archers, best lance-knights and the best long-bowmen in the game) just to keep them around for more than a few years to compensate for that dodgy geography.

The only other empire with geography that really harms it is the Aserai (they tend to get shrunk down to just 1-2 cities in my games, never able to expand) as they have just 2 entries to their empire, this lets enemies funnel in from the west and east and conquer everything quickly (over exposing + splitting the Aserai armies on 2 fronts) - and aserai units already are good, so fixing the sturgian troops probably wont be enough to keep them alive, if this is much to go by.
Yes, all that is true. One of the issues I see in the game is the placement of cities and castles. They often make no sense. The game also has no forts or towers, so there's no fortified structures that can help strengthen borders, all of which would be important for the internal factions, like Battania, which is consistently crushed in my games (along with Sturgia and Aserai, of course).
 

somaholiday

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I really like this idea, I just hope the AI can be tuned to respect the seasons so it doesn't screw them. They already handle food poorly enough.
 

Azhael

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I agree with this, but I think that doubling the amount of food consumed would be a bit too much. I really like the idea of making winters more harsh and something we have to actually consider, though.
 

Pancakelord333

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Yeah double is probably excessive, but its always good to use big, round numbers to get the concept across clearly in an example lol.
Even a 30-40% increase in food consumption would have a sizable impact on army food consumption.
 

Qingl

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it is so nice that people have rest in winter, Then the battle will be slow and reduce. we need this, a season to avoid combat.
and when people are in rest,The sturgia will invade, It is very great just like "wintet is coming"
 

Dr-Shinobi

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Well i could concur with you there in my earlier days except ive been rocking solid with Sturgians due to some playthrus and my recent playing as Empire the Sturgs been taking over half Battania and holding the Khuzs of in the East. But sure Khuzaits have always been the strongest a long with Vladians in most campaigns.... and ive been playing a lot of campaigns. -"Swadians" keeps dominating but the "Khergs" have taken over the leash...Other then that cool idea
 
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Ragratt

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WB
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Great topic! Some really good ideas here. I really strongly agree with #2 of OP. The rest while they have right intention miss the mark imo.

I’ve thought about this myself. I’m planning to make a more thorough post tommorrow on a whole system suggestion the considers distance from home territory and seasons and regional modifiers.

I think cold winters and hot summers should effect morale and army cohesion. There should also be a daily influence cost and higher troop expenses for military campaigns in spring and fall (Planting and harvest). Aserai and Batts would have no seasonal penalties for hot summer / cold winter.

There should be much greater influence cost for forming armies in spring and fall. There should be modifiers to make all nobles more passive during these seasons. Sping / fall should be time for rebuilding and training troops, attending tournaments, focusing on diplomatic and economic affairs.

Military campains shouldn’t last longer than a season or two even if factions remain at war. There might be some raiding over the winter etc, but logistically it doesn’t make sense to have nonstop TOTAL WAR. The preferred season would depend on modifiers in place. Winter down south, summer up north would be ideal. Prob start new suggestion thread on that specifically.

Good stuff!
 
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Punchtown Hero

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2) I'd also make it so that army food upkeep varies with the season:
  • All other empire troops (except Sturgians) consume twice as much (i.e. +100%) food in winter [when above the snow-line] when they are not stationed in a city.
    • When troops are stationed in a city - either in a garrison, or just an army "waiting" in the city walls (in winter/above the snow line), this extra food cost is negated.
In addition to this, I've also been looking at villages, they tend to produce anywhere from 1-4 grain a day, all year round (if grain is not their main production focus, they produce much more grain if it is their production focus) and this output doesn't seem to vary much with the seasons.
3) I would change village output so that:
  • Villages above the world map's snowline [i.e. villages in the snowy bit] produce half as many food products each day (so not just grain, but also olives, dates etc) in winter seasons.
    • This will mean that the northern empires are always hungrier in the winter and will need to prioritise granaries - or go to war southward to raid for food.
    • (I haven't played around much with fief management, but maybe the sturgian cities could get a bonus starting granary level to reflect their adaptation to the winter).
A little oversight on one crucial element here though.... Caravans. They will buy up Sturgian grains and sell them to the other starving cities that armies are buying the grain from since their consumption will be higher their prices are going to be higher.

I personally like the thought behind this idea though :smile:
Honestly, yeah food should be more expensive in the winter. It would also add an extra layer indirectly to being a trader.