Suggestions for troublesome game progression

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1. Conquering your first settlement with a clan's personal army
In order to conquer settlements you'd usually need an army for which you'd need a kingdom for which you need a settlement for which you'd usually need an army for which...
My personal experience with obtaining my first settlement so far has been finding a run down, unprofitable castle with preferably few defenders, saving and hoping I get a siege ram down before I get swarmed by enemies and cheesing a victory (eg. hide army while I go and snipe 25-50 of their archers). Keeping the castle afterwards is very unlikely and honestly not necessarily smart either as all villages likely have already been raided a few times turning the castle into a financial liability.
Sadly it does not seem like there are viable alternatives either, as eg. the 300 trade skill is too end game for practical use.
Suggestion: Allow assembling clan members to a personal army independent of association to a kingdom.
This could allow for a more fun and less grindy early game in general

2. Talking to imprisoned clan leaders
Too often does it happen, that one runs across the map to find out, that whoever you're looking for is currently imprisoned for the indefinite future until they get released who knows where and afterwards they'll run wherever and might just get captured again before you can talk to them. This makes engagements and the main quest incredibly frustrating.
Attempting a prison breakout is often not an option and generally too risky in the first place, but apart from waiting the only alternative, since even if you bribe the dungeon guard the prisoners refuse to talk to you.
Suggestion: Allow talking to other family members about engagements and the main story mission in place of the clan leader during their imprisonment

3. Fast forward during sieges when you're alive

The "Send Troops" option during sieges is always the wrong/unfavorable choice. Period.
Siege ai is very flawed. Ladders are literal death traps for the attacker with even elite troops often dying before trading a single hit.
The soldiers never use all ladders at once, or climb efficiently by climbing in quick succession.
Too often do I catch someone go down the stairs / block the stairs, only to go all the way up again once he reached the ground and similar shenanigans.
Attackers' ranged siege machinery in combination with ladders and especially siege towers is an accident waiting to happen; often causing way more friendly fire than the opposite, to the point of destroying siege towers, killing anyone adjacent and possibly even being the deciding factor in you failing your siege attempt.
This lead to my strategy of destroying all defenders catapults before the battle and having all infantry units stationary before the first gate is about to be breached, which avoids bad siege ai aka. ladders and pathfinding and allows for ranged siege to actually be useful.
... But it's just so very boring to wait for the siege ram to go up and break the wall every time you try to siege. Killing yourself to fast forward (granted you have the game set to prevent your permanent death) only becomes an option after both gates have been breached as the ai is unreliable enough to attacked both gates unless you hold its hands all the way.
Suggestion: Allow fast forward aka. Super Speed during sieges while you're alive
This would also help you wait for your troops to catch the last few pesky rats and make sieges a lot more enjoyable in general
Installing mods like this one shouldn't be such an necessity.

4. Allow yourself as the faction leader of your kingdom to keep fiefs independent of the three available choices
When adjacent kingdoms feel like your kingdom has too few clans/ too low strength in comparison to your settlement quantity they will declare war on you... all of them... at once...
The only reasonable way to expand your kingdom is to have more vassal clans.
The only reasonable way to get more vassals is to find a poor/very poor fiefless t4+ clan with 3+ alive members that do not hate you and persuade them using quicksaves.
Fiefless clans usually want between 130k and 330k denars depending on whether they like you and hate their faction leader (which is too annoying to check en mass).
Meaning that in order to continously grow your kingdom you will need a TON of money.
Add to that your vassals usually being quite negligent/incompetent in their position as army leaders you will usually be required to conquer yourself, which -again- is expensive.
Equipment - which only the player has to buy afaik - is expensive.
Employing 4/4 or 5/5 clan parties with unlimited budgets is expensive.
Employing a lot of elite units is expensive.
Marrying clan members off is expensive.
I've also noticed that the player has to pay the largest portion of tribute payments, resulting in a tribute net negative, even when your kingdom receives more tributes than it pays in total.
Caravans become unreliable the moment you decide to join a kingdom at war, as the chance of them being captured becomes very high.
Global trading when your kingdom relies on you and a war could break out any time is not really feasable.
Smithing 2 handed swords worth 50-70k denars feels like cheating, but becomes necessary to avoid endless grind at some point.
Highly prosperous towns are great ways for incremental passive income during any part of the game.
Buying highly prosperous towns with the 300 trade skill is honestly way inferior to just conquering (who the heck has 3-5m denars to spare and expects to eventually make a profit out of the purchase??).
If you're unlucky you will at some point just never be eligible for any fiefs again (eg. because your other fiefs are too far inland) unless you gift/sell your current fiefs and become eligibe again due to not owning any fiefs.
From what I noticed other faction leaders do not have to pay for additional vassal clans, but they migrate similar to how it worked in warband once they're greatly dissatisfied.
Conclusion: The player has a way higher demand for gold than npcs that in my opinon can't be made up with workshops, trade and caravans
Suggestion: Allow the player as a ruling clan leader to keep any fief for yourself in return for a high amount of influence and dissatisfaction among your vassals

Sample calculation:
Candidate clans in question: -25 relation
Other clans: -15 relation
Influence cost for towns: 7,5% prosperity of town + any influence required to override the popular decision
Influence cost for castles: 15% prosperity of castle + any influence required to override the popular decision
For a 6000 prosperity town this could cost about 1000 influence.

5. Assigning culturally associated clans to settlements
Towns whose owner has a negative (-3) culture impact on their loyalty are very prone to spontaneous rebellions even with loyalty increasing policies and don't grow as well.
The best way to act against this is to just assign towns lords of the same culture.
To accomplish this one often needs to override the popular decision, which later in the game becomes extremely expensive (eg. I just had to pay 480 influence for that).
Couple that with the obvious risk of the town just being recaptured by the enemies soon and you being required to pay those tons of influence again the game becomes very restrictive about your actions as faction ruler, as influence gain doesn't always scale well relative to cost, forcing you to spend tons of time just idling around and accepting very harmful kingdom decisions.
Suggestion 1: Greatly reduce influence cost when overriding the popular decision in favor of a clan that just recently owned that settlement (eg. last 2 ingame weeks or last 4 owners - considering faction leader also owns the settlement for a short duration -)
Suggestion 2: Reduce loyalty impact on settlements for differing cultures between settlement and owner from -3 to -2

Either one would be fine I guess (even both together), but I personally prefer suggestion 1
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All good suggestions. You can take any fief without an army if you just cull the garrison solo first (see vid), but I agree you should be able to make army or equivalent thing as a solo clan, this would help raise leadership too. I resent that I have to be a vassals early to raise leadership early. I mean you can gain a little, but it get to like 50 by the time it would be 150 if you were leading armies.

Allow yourself as the faction leader of your kingdom to keep fiefs independent of the three available choices
For sure Let "the game" recommend 3 clans, but player should have control. TW what is the point of being a ruler supposed to be? You can't make vassals do anything and you can't freely place or create vassals? What is it? Just for vanity of "oh I'm a king now".

Again, all good recommendations, especially for when TW finally start to remove all the bull**** and exploits from the game, we're going to need more tools and options.
1. Conquering your first settlement with a clan's personal army
Never knew why that was not included. Why can't I form a self-contained Army as the leader of my own Minor Faction? They should allow the AI to do it as well, makes crushing those bastards easier.
2. Talking to imprisoned clan leaders
YES, I would expand this to ALL prisoners! Good God, I don't understand why I cannot talk to a prisoner and try to get information out of them or get them to change side. That was the whole point of taking prisoners (well, and ransoms too).
3. Fast forward during sieges when you're alive
Ehh, a bit impartial to this one. That said, I see that the AI gets more derpy when I'm downed and at super speed. Could be a cool feature to at least hurry up the wall breaching but tHaT wOuLd BrEaK iMmErSsIoN
4. Allow yourself as the faction leader of your kingdom to keep fiefs independent of the three available choices
The fact you don't even get a drop down is annoying. I'd much rather pick 3 myself and then let the AI choose, it would at least force them to make relationship-like decisions similar to fief support in Warband.
5. Assigning culturally associated clans to settlements
I think as a compromise, adding a mission that would change the culture of the settlement would be good. I like it the way it is because Rebel Clans now give a sort of bonus content for continuing a long campaign. I also enjoy sniping rebel settlements. If there was a mission where you forcibly deported the population at expense of gold and prosperity - it could be a good compromise.

You would need to decide to take an immediate hit and lose gold, prosperity, building progress and have to play out an Issue (like putting down a rebellion, similar to the collect the tax Issue mini-encounter) versus letting the settlement stay as is, but having the chance to rebel. I feel this is even more important given you never have enough govenor's and the AI doesn't use them IIRC.
If I had my way, sieges would be longer. It's too easy and quick to bring rams up to gates & towers to walls yes, I know, off topic, but an opportunity to complain .. :grin:

Attackers should need to "clear" the way for rams and towers. ie filling defensive ditches etc This would be more realistic, more difficult. Not only would attackers lose more men but defenders could find that they could run out of arrows / bolt before the action has really begun.

To "clear" the way, a new structure would be required - The "vinea" , a small wheeled hut that protects the miners inside who fill in holes and clear away obstacles.

.yes, sieges should be longer, more stressful, where planning is required.

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