So I’m staring at the goblin camp, and I can’t help but to notice…they don’t have any farmers. Like, where’s their food? Do they not get hungry? Thus I suggest that the hearth-tenders, or normal workers, should have an idle task where they farm or attempt to gather more wood for their fires.
and they stockpile it so I can loot it
That sounds like an awesome idea. I would love to turn the tables on them and raid their stockpiles - even better, if they store there the stuff they did squeeze out of me earlier. Revenge is a dish best served cold! *insert evil laughter*
Of course, if goblins started farming then they’d be less pressed to raid you all the time… this has two effects, one good in the short term and one really bad for your town in the long term.
The good: less frequent raids, meaning you don’t have to focus on defences so much.
The bad: imagine how many more ogres would hang around each goblin camp and warband if they had a steadier supply of food!
So, from a lore perspective, I think that a much better option than having goblins farm is to have them demand food and other basic resources, plus the comfort items they already demand, with their camp growing and growing as you supply them with more food. After all, isn’t that the most classic story of navigating conflict – dealing with a bully who takes your lunch/lunch money? Since the goblins are the first real conflict that the player has to solve (the random invasions aren’t really conflicts, they’re resolved with one side being destroyed or blocked out and no room to bargain or seek an alternative resolution.)
From a gameplay perspective I think that demanding food also makes more sense. At first, it may seem harmless – give them a couple of baskets of turnips and let them live in the hills where they don’t bother you much. However, when they’re demanding several high-end food items and threatening to send heavily geared warriors to take the food from you… yeah, that’s a problem. However, it’s not a problem that comes out of nowhere; rather it’s a problem that the player can trace back to their own decisions. So, in the early game it would be significantly cheaper to placate the goblins than it is now (since the player will be building up a food surplus at that point anyway); but there would be more long-term costs involved with that decision. It wouldn’t just be a case of “give them a few chairs, knowing you can get them back later once you have a few footmen”… now it’s a choice between buying a couple of extra days to train a raiding party, and risking some heavily-armed goblin reinforcements.
Of course, the potential is there to have an alternative pathway – when the goblins first show up the player might greet them with food (as in proper cooked meals) and make them feel welcome, and establish a friendly relationship before the conflict can really begin. This would probably be a temporary and uneasy relationship since the power of your town’s shinies will eventually become irresistable to the goblins; but it might mean some short-term allies to help you hold off random invasions while you’re building your defences.
Another option is to allow the goblins to hunt the wild critters as another way they can increase their food stores. Many goblins drop jerky, after all, and it’s another consideration when setting up a trapping field (after all, the goblins will be attracted to the higher levels of game in the area, and wouldn’t pass up an easy meal from plundering your traps)… IMO it’s a bit more characterful than farming, and it allows them to grow in power if the player simply ignores them.
TL;DR: I think the goblin camps should grow in power based on how much food is available, and that the goblins’ personalities should therefore put some more emphasis on their drive to find the next meal and the next trove of shinies. The way I see it, a hungry goblin is a more aggressive goblin; while a goblin with a full belly and a shiny new trinket would be happy enough to sit around and admire their shinies rather than picking a fight.
Very good perspective. As resource strapped outliers of the Red Kiln feudalistic military sociality, farming may be seen as a prey behavior. With the ideology of progression through conquest it would also seem to conflict with their sense of moral correctness.
The relationship aspect could take form in the context that while the Goblins may be association with the Red Kiln, in the line of a serf class, they are also aware that as their power grows they become target of other tribes and Red Kiln groups seeking progression. They are greedy and want all your stuff, but are weary of accumulating more stuff then what they are able to defend. To this end if a satisfactory Goblin Overlord status is observed (demands are met) they would deflect the attention of Ogo’s army (rival tribe) and the red Kiln, possible rallying with your forces to do so. (This would of course require different factions of Goblins, here’s looking at Alpha 30 LOL) This would of course be balanced on the perception of power of the Hearthlings (Military rating), becoming too weak calls off all bets.