Meaningful NPC Interactions

Just thought I would prompt a discussion about the future of NPC interaction within our most beloved Stonehearth. I think these sort of interactions brew the kind of situations which can elevate games from just the average and make them something tremendously more interesting and enjoyable. How we the developers will go about these integrations is a bit of a mystery at this point and we really don’t know how simple or complex it will get. So I felt a bit of discussion is always nice to have on these sort of subjects.

I understand a lot of great scenarios have already been suggested, and this could arguably count as one of them in a way… but I really think this goes a bit deeper and could add further mechanics and complexity to the game.
My proposal caters more directed towards the various more complex factions which will somehow interact with your settlement. These factions would include NPC settlements, traders, or large factions/guilds. The system I have in mind is a tier system which is based on numerous interactions over a good span of in game time. There could possibly be some decision making to do in these interactions.

The tiers will either “rise” or lower” from the standard neutral state, for my purposes let’s call it 0. What influences the number to rise or lower is based on the decision making of the player and the interactions.

Positive Tiers:

Tier +1: The introductory tier for all positive interactions. Fairly easy to obtain by accepting and fulfilling early trade agreements, and being friendly and open to passersby who enter your settlement. Unlocks more interactions with NPC settlements, traders, and factions and opens the way for more advanced options.

Tier +2: More advanced than the introductory tier, and offers a wider range of opportunities. This is where alliances and trade agreements with other settlements and factions can be made. These agreements may not exactly be fair for your civilization so you may have to scrutinize every offer carefully. Factions will visit your settlement more frequently; some may even join or offer their services as hirelings. More trade options will open and a new variety of items which may not be available to you may be accessible. Other possible interactions include sending troops to help other settlements, and calling for other settlements to help you…

Tier +3: The very top tier available which makes a large variety of options available, and also opens up the ability to be diplomatic and hone a true partnership with another settlement or faction. As far as politics go a true friendly relationship with another group may allow for you to build a building in your settlement specifically for this group to stay and will act as a hub to talk with the other group and as an embassy. Trade agreements will be much fairer, and will open up specialty and luxury items which your settlement will never be able to make on their own. Boarders will also be much more open and your citizens may vacation to other settlements and vice versa. This tier is essentially a true friendly relationship with another group and as such will retain the best benefits and bonuses.

Negative Tiers:

Tier -1: This is the first tier where your decisions may negatively impact your future relationships with other factions. It doesn’t reflect too poorly on your settlement at this point but may spiral out of control if not dealt with. Negative interactions which can get you to this point include not helping a friendly settlement in need, turning away factions of all kinds, declining trade, or not delivering accepted trades. The result will be that other factions will visit you less, and you will have to offer much more trade to make it worthwhile for others to “risk” dealing with you.

Tier -2: If you continue to break trade, and otherwise disappoint NPC groups you’ll end up at this unfriendly status. Trade at this point becomes rare, outside groups will be very reluctant to interact with you, and the cost of trade will never be favorable for you. Visiting groups although rare may try to convince some of your towns people to join with them… furthering the negative effects. Hirelings will also be very rare and may refuse to help you or have an extremely high cost.

Tier -3: This is the very bottom of the unfriendly scale. At this point your settlement will almost be entirely avoided making wondering groups and trade almost non-existent. NPC settlements that are repeatedly offended against may become hostile towards you and eventually attack. Outside NPC factions will also become hostile instead of being neutral. There are no benefits to be had at all from this point and elevating yourself out of this tier is a monumental task and will take great effort and cost.

I’d like to hear any recommendations, or other unique opinions on this subject! I’m always open to new ideas. So let us discuss and be merry!