Intended Hearthling Limit? 20? 50?

What’s the “intended”/“expected” number of hearthlings, particularly with respect to A16’s combat? The cap defaults to 20, with the ingame option to set it from 10 to 50. Is 20 the ‘expected’ number, with the ease of upping the cap in response to player desires? Is 50 the ‘expected’ cap, with 20 as the default to keep the minimum specs lower and ensure a better performing initial experience?

The main impetus for this question comes from my first settlement. I went through the goblin campaign and then all four gongs relatively quickly and with little trouble, though I’d generally temporarily beef up my military before assaulting each camp (ie draft a few craftspeople into the military, then send them back to crafting after the camp was cleared). A while after I’d finished the purple gong, though, I kinda wanted to focus more on harvesting, crafting, building, etc, but I couldn’t afford to, as I was getting bombarded by two substantial attacks nearly every night (one multi-ogre/orc/kobold combo squad, and then the other varied, from a second ogre/orc/kobold mixed squad all the way down to goblin thieves). I’ve had to keep 10-12 hearthlings in my military to deal with it, which stifles everything else, since 8 hearthlings to cover food, mining, crafting, looting, and building stretches them pretty thin, and requires class swapping.

I’ve stayed at 20 hearthlings since it’s the ‘default’, and I presumed that was what the game was being developed around as a presumption. But looking at the Dev Blogs regarding A16, they almost always talk about the 50-hearthling cap rather than the 20-cap. If I was ‘expected’ to have up to 50 hearthlings by this point, that’d make my 10-12 person military much more reasonable.

I’ve started new settlements since then, but kept away from progressing through the gongs at all, not wanting to repeat the problem. But it still leaves me wondering - was my problem my cap (20) vs the expected cap (50), or is the combat supposed to scale with (actual, not projected) hearthling count/cap? Is the double-raids intended, or did the save get bugged at some point? Was intensive combat supposed to be the ‘last’ phase, rather than something you can opt into and out of (I tried taking down all the gongs and trophies, but at best, that seemed to make the 2nd raid less likely to be ogre combo, but that could’ve been pure chance; also tried disbanding most of my military, but the raids didn’t seem to shrink any in response)?

Am a newcomer to Stonehearth - been eying it for ages, but only actually bought it with the recent steam ‘birthday’ sale - and have certainly been enjoying it. But I haven’t been able to figure out this one question - designed/intended pop cap - and it’d be nice to know, since 2.5x as many hearthlings would rather change things :wink: .

Once you advance into warfare there is no return. You engaged them in combat
in the beginning to keep them from stealing your stuff or forcing you to pay them
and will have to deal with them 'till the end of time from that on.
Same is for the Gong’s. Once placed the effects of a gong seem to be permanent,
as they once trigger the story camp spawn and afterwards enable the enemys to
spawn in greater numbers and stronger variants.
I cant tell for sure but so far it seems to me its not really intended to engage all
Gong Events with the basic 20 cap, as the third and specifically the fourth breaks
loose hell upon your settlement. The default cap just remains at 20 to ensure a
stable game experience, but if possible should be increased. Getting every kind
of promotion alone would take 11 hearthlings and an army of 9 ppl wont do much
after the second/third gong.

Just increase your cap a lill’ now and then and keep an eye how laggy/buggy it turns.
If the game runs smoothly, increase the cap by 3-5; wait till you stock up your town
and take a look if everything keeps running fine. Only problem about that is that you’ll
encounter quite high needs of net worth in your town above 25.

Does Hearthling limit in settings determine how the AI/Monsters attack?

back at the begining of A16 if you set the max hearthling count to under 20 you would never see kobolds or ogres, I’m unsure if this is still the case.
However on hard mode the difficulty of the raids scales with the number of days that have passed rather than the number of hearthlings you have or your military might like in normal. So I would assume you can still see the harder raids with a capped number of hearthlings.

The answer to the first question in the topic is 50 because the raids continue to scale above 20 hearthlings in normal mode

That is what it’s seeming like :confused: I kinda wish there were an “Anti-Gong”, or a “Peace Flag”, or somesuch, that would tone down the raids while active - not remove them or turn it into peaceful mode, just lower the potency to give you some breathing room when you opt into it.

At least when you finish the goblin campaign, you do have to manually trigger each Gong step, so you can dramatically slow your military progress at that point, only growing as desired or deemed necessary to handle the normal raids & encounters.

I am getting close to bumping up the cap - keep wanting to do more things at once than 20 hearthlings can manage ><

As best I understand it, your Military Score (essentially a sum of the value of your military units’ levels and gear) determines what monsters attack. (In Hard mode, the number of Days passed also contributes) The four gongs also seem to alter it - I’m not sure if they just add to the military score, switch you to some separate tier system, or if they only trigger their scripted events and have no effect on regular encounters.
(I was in the rather comical situation of, when the ‘mysterious orc’ is warning me of the Mountain and offering the wind chime to nerf it, my typical random encounters included 2 Ogres :stuck_out_tongue: )

So if I have that right, it would seem like the combat you encounter is independent of your Hearthling cap. But they could have included some scaling on top of the military score to account for that, so … Also, that description only cares about active military, but the encounters seem to escalate even when you don’t have an active military (and don’t de-escalate when you job-change your military), so there’s got to be more to the system. If it took the all-encompassing approach of looking at your (active or retired) hearthlings’ military levels and what gear they /would/ be wearing if active, that would explain a lot.