I’ve had quite a bit of fun playing with the new morale mechanics. Most of it is fairly straight forward. Hearthlings prefer a safe home, a cooked meal and most noticeably, not only a soft bed, but their own bed. That got me thinking, what’s next? It only makes sense as the settlement grows and becomes a town, the demand of luxuries by the hearthlings will only increase. We so far have one tier a town can move up to, but what happens in the next step up? Sure there will be quest requirements and a player will need to meet, but once those are met and the next tier is reached, perhaps the townsfolk a player oversees now want more. It’s no longer a new settlement and it’s not even a small town any more, and now they want more.
Would it be possible to introduce more complicated economics? Before you had a farmer farm in exchange for food and shelter. Well now maybe he wants a wage. He wants gold as payment for his work. Nothing extravagant, but something. That mason who’s just crafted 20 gargoyles for you to sell, well he wants a cut to. He wants to buy himself something nice from the carpenter. That carpenter has some fantastic ideas for fine furniture, but you haven’t added that to her work queue, so there she sits twiddling his thumbs. Maybe she takes the initiative, buys the wood from the town stores, crafts whatever ornate piece she has in mind and sells it to a visiting merchant. She than uses this gold to commission the weaver to create some fine outfit and the pattern goes on and on and on. This is how a real economy develops.
Right now the player is the undisputed lord commander of an army of happy slaves. What if with higher town levels, Hearthlings developed more autonomy. In exchange for demanding a wage or commissions for their labor, they could pay rent on their homes or compensate for the food they eat. Since guards would also start demanding a wage and fortifications and roads now required paid workers to build, taxes could be levied on transactions, wealth or income.
If your blacksmith, who through commissions has acquired quite a pot of gold, is sick of living in a small hovel, maybe he could request a plot of land. If approved, he could then commission the construction on a one of the standard home templates. The money for materials, decorations and the labor comes out of his pocket. If his money runs out, the work stops. Perhaps a small tax could be levied on his plot of land that further helps pay for the common welfare of the whole town.
As you could imagine, this whole system could get very complex, but it may be a rewarding complexity that makes the town and its citizens feel more alive and real. This is something that had been bouncing around my head for a while and I figured I would share. I apologize if I’m just rehashing ideas other have shared, but as a frequent forum lurker, I have yet to see anything else posted quite like this.