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Fief owner's permission for larger recruitment and/or trade rights

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This has been bugging me a bit for a while.

Considering how valuable manpower is in Calradia's settings (and we certainly can see how valuable recruits can get when enough AI lords start visiting the villages emptying the recruitment queues!), why is the player free to fleece every village out of convenient hands to hold weapons (or work tools) without any say so from the fief's owner?

Perhaps it would be helpful if the queue slot availability had more requirements than simply high relationship with the notable. Keep the first slot open to anybody (as long as relationship is above 0, presumably), but give the "high notable relationship" only one more slot to open without other considerations. Basically make the last four slots dependent on obtaining recruitment permission from the fief's owner. Make it depend on relationship with the lord - at a low level, they might ask a significant fee for access to recruitment options (and perhaps have that as a time-limited "unlock," say, "Pay me 5000 denars and you can pick any man you want for a week"), with the price dropping the higher the relationship between player and lord is, to the point where they just go "sure, go ahead, my bestest friend" at high enough level. Or perhaps they would request some specific "favor" (quest), its details dependent on the lord's personality traits and/or current world situation (say, if one of their villages is being harassed by bandits/deserters, they might prefer the player to do the busywork in exchange for some temporary "right" instead of actual money).

Incidentally, I think initial relationship should really depend on player's factional background (Imperials reacting better to Imperials, Sturgians disliking Imperials, not even Khuzait liking Khuzait... :wink: ). Make that choice mean something, even if it's just how much more legwork you have to do to be able to access even the first recruitment slot of a specific "dislike" faction.

Why this? Because it promotes greater interaction with nobles. Suddenly you actually have to start worrying about keeping in good graces of a few lords, just to have better access to recruitment potential. It also ensures that AI lords, at least in earlier stages of the game, have a guaranteed place to recruit. In fact, I think it wouldn't be amiss to have one additional "village elder"/"burghmeister" notable with recruitment queue restricted solely to the fief's owner and their overlord (so if the fief holder is not a clan leader, their clan leader can recruit there, and so can the faction ruler unless a specific kingdom policy prohibiting them to do so is also implemented), just to keep the more important nobles better stocked up on fresh meat.

Anyway, as I'd imagine this the queue would then only allow one recruitment slot open with rel > 0. Set another (somewhat higher, rel > 20?) requirement for the second slot, and everything else is locked by the lord's permission. The third slot opens with lord's (preferably timed) permission alone (the notable doesn't get to say "no men" when you have explicit permission from his superior to recruit somebody). Fourth to sixth slots are locked by both (timed) lord's permission and relationship with the notable (say, 40, 60, 80). Make those slots count!

Yes, it would make rebuilding an army more difficult, but... that's kind of the point, because suddenly the player has to branch out outside of desired faction simply to have enough immediate recruits. Not to mention the relationship gain (and loss) from quests (both with notables and lords) matters that much more now, and has direct and immediately intuitive impact on player's army composition potential.

I'm not much a fan of "grinding," but in this case I think it would bring enough variation to interactions and recruitment to warrant consideration of the change.

Recruitment out of the way, I'd like to see "trading rights" also implemented with similar behavior. Selling those was a very important source of income for landholders (at least in ME Europe), with cities often being in direct conflict over things like market or storage rights. Seems kind of off that Calradia's notables don't care for some sweet, sweet extra income.

Might be interesting if, in order to trade above certain amounts, the player had to obtain trade right permission from the fief's owner as well. Have any positive relationship with the settlement's main notable affect the resistance of the lord to providing the player with such permission (the notable intercedes on player's behalf because they like them). As with the recruitment right, make this either an outright-financial transaction, or dependent on completion of some special assignment. Preferably, allow both options, just make the sum required when offered an assignment quest that much higher (the lord really wants you to do him a favor, but if you're willing to fork over more money than they think the permission is worth, they won't say no - maybe tie their acceptance of alternative payment to their own financial status?)

Ultimately, once again you see a greater stress on interpersonal relationships. It also prevents "snowballing" player income early on, if they don't build up relationships with appropriate characters.

Hell, if the lord happens to be deceitful or greedy, and the player earned very high relationship with them, why not make it possible for both recruitment and trading rights be available to them? We already can have a civil talk with high-relationship lords on the field without a fight, so why not some backside trading while at it, if their personality traits allow for it (for that matter, generous or merciful lords might agree to allow trading, but not recruitment).

Admittedly, this would require some tweaking of "hostile settlement" mechanics), quietly and so that the lord's ruler doesn't know. Also, potentially tying in with the suggested "grievance" mechanics if recruitment rights are given, which would make the ruler all that much more likely to expel if not outright execute the lord in the future if they keep at it and get found out.

If the details of both of these suggestions are controlled in some extended way by additional kingdom policies, all the better. It would allow the legal system to shape functionality of a kingdom in an immediately perceivable, to the player, way, and further distinguish factions with conflicting policies in that respect. For example, the Khurzait may strictly demand that not just the fief owner, but the clan leader should also be asked for recruitment permission, while Battanians might simply restrict higher-"tier"-notables from having access to the lord-exclusive queue line.

All of this assumes the player will have much greater access to relationship-increasing opportunities than it is possible right now, though. I think it's a safe assumption considering the priority list.
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