[Feedback] Villages need a base rate to militia growth so they don't end up defenseless after many consecutive raids

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Bannerman Man

C# Sleuth
Knight
Currently, the way the game calculates the militia capacity and militia growth rate for a village is decided through a percentage of total number of hearths subtracted by the "Retirement" rate which is just a percentage of overall militia numbers.

The breakdown of modifiers on the militia tooltip of a village are as follows:
  • "From Hearths" is a positive number calculated as: Current Total Hearths x (0.002)
  • "Retired" is a negative number calculated as: Current Total Militia x (0.03)
There is an intersection point where these two modifiers will cancel each other out that determines maximum militia.

For instance, on a 900 hearth village the positive modifer would be (900 * 0.002) = 1.8. The positive modifier gets canceled out at 60 total militia because the negative modifier is calculated as (60 * 0.03) = 1.8. Therefore, the maximum militia for a 900 hearth village is 60. That is a decent number for a healthy village, however, this equation breaks down at very low hearth numbers, which happens to a village after being the target of many raids.

Here is Tarcutis at 59 hearths:

Tarcutis-Militia-Growth-Flat.png


You can see it can only support approximately three total militia at that number of hearths. Three militia is not enough to deter any hostile party on the map, so it becomes an easy target for raiding, which in turn tanks its hearth number and keeps it in a perpetually defenseless state. Not only that, but the militia growth rate for these low hearth villages is excruciatingly slow. At 59 hearths a village only generates a single militia in roughly 8 days. The rate slows down even further as the maximum capacity of village militia is approached, as the "Retired" rate continues to grow with militia numbers, decreasing the overall Expected Change.

Both towns and castles have a +1 base rate to militia growth, and I believe this is also needed for villages. The retirement rate can be adjusted to compensate to allow a reliable number of militia to defend a low hearth village.

It might also be a good idea to make villages at <150 (or possibly higher) hearths a much less valuable raid target to hostile parties, because the villages sitting in high traffic areas during an active war get continuously raided into the ground very quickly, and can't grow fast enough to provide value to its bound settlement. This leaves certain towns unable to feed themselves over a long period of time, and as a result, towns end up falling to 0 prosperity over time.

1.4.1 has made this especially noticable with the increased warfare. Here's Jalmarys and its villages after ~450 days, after being the target of enemies for a prolonged period. Its villages cannot seem to make it past 100 or so hearths before being raided again:

Jalmarys-Suffering.png

Dradios-No-Militia.png

Aegosca-No-Militia.png
 
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TheShermanator

Sergeant
I’d be in favor of a slight tweak to militia population rates. But I think fundamentally, villages that get raided a lot because there are no armies around to draw enemy armies away should be defenseless for a long time. Or, in other words, when the player knows that their villages are being raided, they should know that they have to react to that. Otherwise, if the player knew that the militia will replenish itself really quickly, they could comfortably ignore any raids, complacent in the knowledge that the situation would soon fix itself.

Maybe a system in which you could post a small Garrison, say 50 or less, for a defenseless village? That would deter some small enemy parties.
 

Bannerman Man

C# Sleuth
Knight
I’d be in favor of a slight tweak to militia population rates. But I think fundamentally, villages that get raided a lot because there are no armies around to draw enemy armies away should be defenseless for a long time. Or, in other words, when the player knows that their villages are being raided, they should know that they have to react to that. Otherwise, if the player knew that the militia will replenish itself really quickly, they could comfortably ignore any raids, complacent in the knowledge that the situation would soon fix itself.

Maybe a system in which you could post a small Garrison, say 50 or less, for a defenseless village? That would deter some small enemy parties.
That's fair.

This was just a suggestion to help prevent villages from being raided into the ground, because the effect it has on its associated town is enormous (see the picture of Jalmarys). The real issue here is that towns that fall to that low of a prosperity level have a very hard time pulling themselves back out for a number of reasons, but the NPCs that are raiding have no idea what they are doing to those towns (and usually end up taking them for themselves in the end anyway).

So raising militia numbers was one of my suggestions to prevent this from happening. It's not the only way to combat this, and probably not even the best way, but it's worth taking a look at anyway IMO.

Here is Jalmarys about 250 days later in that same campaign:
Jalmarys-0-Prosperity.png
 
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TheShermanator

Sergeant
That's fair.

This was just a suggestion to prevent villages from being raided into the ground, because the effect it has on its associated town is enormous (see the picture of Jalmarys). Towns that fall to that low of a prosperity level have a very hard time pulling themselves back out for a number of reasons, but the NPCs that are raiding have no idea what they are doing to the town (and usually end up taking it for themselves in the end anyway).

So raising militia numbers was one of my suggestions to prevent this from happening. It's not the only way to combat this, and probably not even the best way, but it's worth taking a look at anyway IMO.

Here is Jalmarys about 250 days later in that same campaign:
Jalmarys-0-Prosperity.png

To be clear, I definitely agree that the effect is devastating. I just think, IMO, that (caveats aside*) the cost is good for the game - in that it makes player choices (e.g. to go defend the villages being raided or not, to travel far away from undefended regions in the first place, etc.) meaningful.

*1st Main Caveat: Regardless of the rate of village replenishment, the way that garrisons and city food interact should definitely be reworked. Garrisons should ultimately starve, but it should be slower - and/or the player should be able to stash food specifically for the garrison as desired. This is really a separate problem, but the village replenishment question exacerbates it.

*2nd Main Caveat: Again, a separate problem that the village replenishment issue exacerbates, but; You should be able to assign general orders to parties in your clans. E.g. 'Patrol region X'. That way, only big enemy armies not challenged by your own big armies should be able to raid easily - as long as you devote the clan parties to protect from smaller enemy parties. That would involve the tradeoff of losing access to your party clans as easy 0 influence add-ons to your armies, but 'ain't nothin' in this world for free' :smile:
 

Badcritter

Squire
I like how security is through the roof. It's like, there's nobody here other than a handful of militia, so you don't have to worry about getting mugged. Yay!
 

Bannerman Man

C# Sleuth
Knight
You should be able to assign general orders to parties in your clans. E.g. 'Patrol region X'. That way, only big enemy armies not challenged by your own big armies should be able to raid easily - as long as you devote the clan parties to protect from smaller enemy parties. That would involve the tradeoff of losing access to your party clans as easy 0 influence add-ons to your armies, but 'ain't nothin' in this world for free'
Actually, I believe this feature is already in the works, according to this.

*1st Main Caveat: Regardless of the rate of village replenishment, the way that garrisons and city food interact should definitely be reworked. Garrisons should ultimately starve, but it should be slower - and/or the player should be able to stash food specifically for the garrison as desired. This is really a separate problem, but the village replenishment question exacerbates it.
So let me ask you this: how many days would you like it to take to starve out a full garrison? And similarly, how far away do you think armies should be able to reinforce a town from during a siege? Let's say Epicrotea was besieged with a garrison of 400 and militia of 300. In your opinion, how long should that siege last, and where's the furthest away that an army big enough to chase the attackers off should be able to travel from?
 

Kea Black

Sergeant Knight at Arms
M&BWB
Or, in other words, when the player knows that their villages are being raided, they should know that they have to react to that. Otherwise, if the player knew that the militia will replenish itself really quickly, they could comfortably ignore any raids, complacent in the knowledge that the situation would soon fix itself.

problem is that enemies seems to target always the same village until they successfully raid it, even if you go there to defend it the IA ignore it and will try and raid the same village again and agaid and again

in the previous run I had to defend one of my village from an infinite number of raids, I chased the first lord, a second one goes and try to raid, so I turn back and chase the new one, but the first one returned to raid, so this time I first captured the second one then returned back and chased the first one, in the meantime a third one showed up to raid the same village, so back to the village, and so on, and so on, even lords that where already captured while trying to raid that same village returned to try and raid it again after escaping imprisonment (or being ransomed without my consent ...), I was unable to do anything else for most of the war, even going to the nearest city to resupply and dump prisoners was out of question for most of the time

the player doesn't have a way to stop this behaviour, you will need to spent the entire war defending that same village, I suppose that if the militia eventually grow bigger than that of another village than the IA will target that one, but with multiples raid attemps in that short time the militia had no time to grow at all, so the only course of action, is to sit down waiting in the village waiting for days doing nothing, looking at all those lords loked in a cycle of moving to raid the village than running away from your party, than returning to raid the village, in this way the militia will grow and eventually the IA will target another village (praying for it to belong to another lord)

Maybe a system in which you could post a small Garrison, say 50 or less, for a defenseless village? That would deter some small enemy parties.

something like this is really needed

another option would be to force the IA to avoid villages that where recently defended and search another target instead
 

TheShermanator

Sergeant
So let me ask you this: how many days would you like it to take to starve out a full garrison? And similarly, how far away do you think armies should be able to reinforce a town from during a siege? Let's say Epicrotea was besieged with a garrison of 400 and militia of 300. In your opinion, how long should that siege last, and where's the furthest away that an army big enough to chase the attackers off should be able to travel from?

Good to make it concrete. (Also, I think it's funny and fitting that you picked Epicrotea for the example. In 2 long playthroughs so far, I've seen that place change hands from one AI to another at least 10 times.) That said, answering the question really involves 10+ different mechanics, and thus 10+ different questions. Some of the most important:

1) To recap what I've said above, I think a garrison food stash (that is only available for the garrison to consume) would be essential. Thus, the time that a garrison can endure a siege should depend in part on the variable of player preparation. (The player should also allow the garrison to buy food from the town and add it to the stash - thus high food prices would cost the player more $. Lots of detail to be worked out there.)

2) Also (I think I've posted this in other threads), I think the Calradian market economy, embodied by the prices each individual town is willing to pay, should value food differently. That is to say, when the total supply of food has a negative trend - and especially when the quantity is near 0 - the town should be willing to pay very high prices - enough to motivate vendors even from other regions vs. only those from the bound villages. Of course, this already happens in the game somewhat, but I think this effect should be more pronounced.

Presuming this, any town should not begin any siege with near 0 food, even if the bound villages are raided to the ground. To elaborate further: The amount of food a town begins the average siege with should depend less on the condition of the immediate bound villages and more on the total amount of food in the economy - which would be largely determined by the total amount of raiding across Calradia in general + the total amount of 'prosperity' and army population in Calradia. The impact of high consumption / low supply should still be most deeply felt in areas closest to those causes, which makes sense if caravans are trying to make not just the most $ per transaction but the most $ per day (and travelling to sell takes time). But high enough demand / low enough supply should be raising food prices to the point that food gets shipped in from far away - more so than it already does in the game.

[Skipping over other variables...]

So, the question to answer is not really how long can a city last in general (because that's dependent on other variables) but rather how long the garrison can last once it hits 0 food available (between city market, garden production vs consumption rate for castles, and stash).

In that case, I'd say the % points of a garrison (remaining at the start of each day) that starves at the end of each day with 0 food should be some variation on "(N - 1)^1.3", where N is the number of days passed after 0 food is reached. So only 1% is gone after the second day. By the 20th day with no food, though, about half of the garrison remaining at the start of every day is starving out at the end of every day. Maybe that's too slow ... I'd want to test it and play around with it. 20 days in game time is a long time. Especially if I am assuming that the town, and especially the garrison via the stash, should always start the siege with some days of food. One way or another, I would want siege starvation to be possible - but generally only if the faction's main defending army does not react quickly and/or is not defeated first. This need to break the main enemy army in a field battle before attempting a long siege would make major field battles even more significant. (This already happens in the game, but more the better.)

All of that being said: The interesting question for me, and the one most closely related to the stated topic of the thread, is not really about siege starvation mechanics. It's more about how raiding causes garrisons to starve really quickly even when they are not under siege. I think the other measures I've proposed would mitigate that issue. If anything, I think they would fix it too well - such that, if these garrison food mechanics are introduced, they should find another way to impose costs on the player when the enemy raids their villages. Maybe they should have local relations penalties, prosperity and thus tax penalties, army morale penalties, reputation penalties, loyalty penalties (in a Calradia in which loyalty mattered more and there were more robust rebellion mechanics), etc. I still think raiding should sting the kingdom being raided and force them to make tough choices.
 
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TheShermanator

Sergeant
problem is that enemies seems to target always the same village until they successfully raid it, even if you go there to defend it the IA ignore it and will try and raid the same village again and agaid and again

in the previous run I had to defend one of my village from an infinite number of raids, I chased the first lord, a second one goes and try to raid, so I turn back and chase the new one, but the first one returned to raid, so this time I first captured the second one then returned back and chased the first one, in the meantime a third one showed up to raid the same village, so back to the village, and so on, and so on, even lords that where already captured while trying to raid that same village returned to try and raid it again after escaping imprisonment (or being ransomed without my consent ...), I was unable to do anything else for most of the war, even going to the nearest city to resupply and dump prisoners was out of question for most of the time

the player doesn't have a way to stop this behaviour, you will need to spent the entire war defending that same village, I suppose that if the militia eventually grow bigger than that of another village than the IA will target that one, but with multiples raid attemps in that short time the militia had no time to grow at all, so the only course of action, is to sit down waiting in the village waiting for days doing nothing, looking at all those lords loked in a cycle of moving to raid the village than running away from your party, than returning to raid the village, in this way the militia will grow and eventually the IA will target another village (praying for it to belong to another lord)



something like this is really needed

another option would be to force the IA to avoid villages that where recently defended and search another target instead

I've been there. But then, I realized that if the enemy was throwing parties and armies at the same 2-3 villages, those same parties and armies were not defending their fiefs or bolstering their strategically important armies. And that, even if the repeated raiding of my villages was costly, I could hurt them more than they hurt me by just destroying their weaker-then-otherwise-possible armies and taking their fiefs. Furthermore, by spending time defending a village instead of taking a castle, I was only superficially preventing loss to my kingdom - because really, the loss of the opportunity to take a fief from an enemy is worse than the loss of the village. It's brutal to watch your villages get wrecked, but it's a worthy and sometime necessary trade to let it happen so that you can break the back of the enemy kingdom more generally.

That's why I think the garrison and/or clan party patrol assignments are fine. Because those options also cost the player something - men that could be more productive in the war effort on the front lines.

Basically, strategic trade-offs make the game fun. On top of that, strategic trade-offs are realistic and thus support the whole medieval warfare immersion thing. Villages in border regions got raided - even if their lord might ultimately be winning the war.
 

Kea Black

Sergeant Knight at Arms
M&BWB
I've been there. But then, I realized that if the enemy was throwing parties and armies at the same 2-3 villages, those same parties and armies were not defending their fiefs or bolstering their strategically important armies. And that, even if the repeated raiding of my villages was costly, I could hurt them more than they hurt me by just destroying their weaker-then-otherwise-possible armies and taking their fiefs. Furthermore, by spending time defending a village instead of taking a castle, I was only superficially preventing loss to my kingdom - because really, the loss of the opportunity to take a fief from an enemy is worse than the loss of the village. It's brutal to watch your villages get wrecked, but it's a worthy and sometime necessary trade to let it happen so that you can break the back of the enemy kingdom more generally.

That's why I think the garrison and/or clan party patrol assignments are fine. Because those options also cost the player something - men that could be more productive in the war effort on the front lines.

Basically, strategic trade-offs make the game fun. On top of that, strategic trade-offs are realistic and thus support the whole medieval warfare immersion thing. Villages in border regions got raided - even if their lord might ultimately be winning the war.

yes, as of now you better let your village be raided if it become a target and spend your time doing something else than defending it, defending it is actually pointless, since the system doesn't aknowledge you tried to defend it in the first place and will continue to target it

but this is certainly not an ideal situation and should be fixed somehow, player (and IA lords) should have a way to effectively defend a village and secure it for a while from small raiding parties (big armies should not be affected)
 

Bannerman Man

C# Sleuth
Knight
1) To recap what I've said above, I think a garrison food stash (that is only available for the garrison to consume) would be essential.
I'm not wild about the idea of giving players/NPCs a food stash that they can easily stuff with food, even if it's of limited capacity. I think it waters down the town/economic management aspect of the game too much. Food is the about the cheapest thing you can buy, and freely stashing it would trivialize keeping your garrison fed. That's just my opinion though. I think there's still a lot of room left to maneuver with the current mechanic to make it feel right before ripping it up and going in a different direction.

2) Also (I think I've posted this in other threads), I think the Calradian market economy, embodied by the prices each individual town is willing to pay, should value food differently. That is to say, when the total supply of food has a negative trend - and especially when the quantity is near 0 - the town should be willing to pay very high prices - enough to motivate vendors even from other regions vs. only those from the bound villages. Of course, this already happens in the game somewhat, but I think this effect should be more pronounced.

[...] But high enough demand / low enough supply should be raising food prices to the point that food gets shipped in from far away - more so than it already does in the game.
I agree with tying the food surplus/deficit or food stocks level to price in some respect. That would probably create more incentive for caravans to visit towns in dire need of food. They've apparently been tweaking the price model in the latest beta patch (that's what people are saying at least), so we'll see what they come up with.

Presuming this, any town should not begin any siege with near 0 food, even if the bound villages are raided to the ground. To elaborate further: The amount of food a town begins the average siege with should depend less on the condition of the immediate bound villages and more on the total amount of food in the economy - which would be largely determined by the total amount of raiding across Calradia in general + the total amount of 'prosperity' and army population in Calradia. The impact of high consumption / low supply should still be most deeply felt in areas closest to those causes, which makes sense if caravans are trying to make not just the most $ per transaction but the most $ per day (and travelling to sell takes time).
I'm not sure I'm quite following this part. So one town that's extremely poor and one that's extremely wealthy will start on even ground during sieges? What's the incentive to protect/grow your villages, clean up bandits, ensure your town's not starving, etc. if it has no bearing on how long your town can last during a siege? Just a bit more income from taxes and tariffs I guess? Does that mean allowing your own fiefs to suffer will also weaken the enemy as well?

In that case, I'd say the % points of a garrison (remaining at the start of each day) that starves at the end of each day with 0 food should be some variation on "(N - 1)^1.3", where N is the number of days passed after 0 food is reached. So only 1% is gone after the second day. By the 20th day with no food, though, about half of the garrison remaining at the start of every day is starving out at the end of every day. Maybe that's too slow ... I'd want to test it and play around with it. 20 days in game time is a long time. Especially if I am assuming that the town, and especially the garrison via the stash, should always start the siege with some days of food. One way or another, I would want siege starvation to be possible - but generally only if the faction's main defending army does not react quickly and/or is not defeated first. This need to break the main enemy army in a field battle before attempting a long siege would make major field battles even more significant. (This already happens in the game, but more the better.)
That's an interesting idea; a progressive starvation rate. It would make surviving the beginning stages of a siege all that much more important, and would make quickly getting an army over to reinforce the defenders critical. 20 days is a long time though; I think you could get a typical army from any point in the world to any other point well within 20 days, especially if you factor in the extra time that it would take for the food stocks to run dry before starvation even begins. A lot can happen in the world in that month+, and you wouldn't be able to interact with any of it while you're sieging.

I think the devs want economic warfare to be a part of the game though, so if towns always start with food during a siege it would make things like raiding villages and attacking caravans less meaningful, which is the whole point of the current system.

I was just wondering what your thoughts were on how long you think a typical siege should be expected to last. I hope I'm not being too critical haha! I was the one to bring it up.

All of that being said: The interesting question for me, and the one most closely related to the stated topic of the thread, is not really about siege starvation mechanics. It's more about how raiding causes garrisons to starve really quickly even when they are not under siege. I think the other measures I've proposed would mitigate that issue. If anything, I think they would fix it too well - such that, if these garrison food mechanics are introduced, they should find another way to impose costs on the player when the enemy raids their villages. Maybe they should have local relations penalties, prosperity and thus tax penalties, army morale penalties, reputation penalties, loyalty penalties (in a Calradia in which loyalty mattered more and there were more robust rebellion mechanics), etc. I still think raiding should sting the kingdom being raided and force them to make tough choices.
Personally I'm okay with a little bit of starvation, even during peace time. There's a reason why famines are mentioned so often in the Bible; people feared that sh*t haha, and they didn't always have control of it. The food mechanics will just have to be adjusted a bit to ensure towns won't starve just because the player or an NPC decided to stop by to top off their food.

Back on the subject of militias, I honestly don't know what actually factors into an AI's decision to raid a village. It's possible that militia size doesn't apply in at all (or very little), which would make the points made in the original post moot.

It's a tough issue to find a middle ground to raiding so that it has a moderate effect on a town's economy that doesn't stick around forever, but is also not open to exploitation by the player. You can program an AI's motivations as you wish, but you can only try to steer a player in the direction you want them to go. Simply increasing militia numbers in a village is probably not likely to deter a player from constantly raiding if it has such a powerful effect on a town.

I really hope they can get it worked out though.
 
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TheShermanator

Sergeant
I agree that, because the devs are committed to a 'living world' economy, all of this is really hard to balance. Everything affects everything else. In general, I'm also in favor of a system that makes the living economy of Calradia (to include the food commodities market) more impactful. Thus, these clarifications:

1) To be more clear and detailed than I was being about the stash: It would have to be interactive with the local food economy. As in, the stash would simply be the food that the garrison ate on any given day. It would not be extra food that the garrison started eating only when the town had 0 food. Within that scheme, it would run out quickly if not replenished (e.g. decent sized garrisons eat a lot of food per day, so even if the player stashed 300 grain, it would be gone in less than a month w/out replenishment). Thus, it would need to be auto-replenished. I would propose that the mechanism for stash auto-replenishment would be that the quartermaster of the stash or whatever would buy food from the town at local market prices. At the end of the day, then, the player is still punished (in gold) for low food supply / high food prices, and generally, the food level in the town still impacts the food supply of the garrison. But those would at least be separate things. Right now in the game, the garrison's food is simply is the town's food and vice versa.

2) To my mind, my 2nd quote in your post explains the 3rd quote your post. As in, if food is getting shipped in from further way because of high food prices in a town, then the local bound-village food supply has less (not zero, but relatively less) impact on the town's available food supply. Conversely, if food is getting shipped in from all over Calradia, the total food supply in all of Calradia would start to have impacts on food supply/prices in any given town in Calradia. Again, this would be a relative disparity. Local raiding would still matter: A town that has healthy villages and caravans supplying food would have more available food than a town that is only getting it from the caravans because all bound villages are burned out. But if caravans were more motivated to bring food to places with low food (thus high prices), then that food they are bringing would have to come from somewhere. So a Calradia that is burning, Attila-the-Hun-style - which lots of frequent raiding - would result in generally higher food prices because of generally lower food supply across the continent.The effects of those supply/price issues felt everywhere but more acutely in the areas with the most frequent raiding.

By the way, the towns ability to pay higher food prices should also come from somewhere. Maybe shrinking the luxury good market for a while? Maybe huge hits to prosperity as the town vendors come up with cash to pay food caravans? Not sure. But I agree that poor towns being forced to pay high prices for food from far way caravans should be devastating.

3) On the starvation rate: Yeah, I'm still not sure. I was trying to balance realism with gameplay factors: 20 days is probably too long for gameplay reasons, but it's probably not long enough for historical/realism reasons. Look at sieges of major cities throughout history: People find ways to turn '0 food' into a little food: Rats, dogs, zoo animals, etc. French cuisine, arguably, was born out of the Franco-Prussian War's siege of Paris that lasted quite a bit longer than 20 days! But if it took 20+ game days to starve out a garrison, it would rarely happen. You would have to have such huge military superiority for that to happen - as in, the enemy would have to have no real ability to raise an army big enough to challenge yours.
____

Generally, I'd be fine with starvation being a problem, but I think it should be more acutely felt by the civilian populations and somewhat (not completely) buffered for the king's men-at-arms. You shouldn't have to be afraid that a garrison will start to starve within a few days just because a raid happened in a bound village. On top of that, I think there should be other penalties to enemy raiding measured in other game currencies - relations, loyalty, regional prosperity, etc. - beyond just food supply.
 
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