I’m certain you’ve done this before; you embark to a region and find yourself surrounded by a scattering of silkweed, or perhaps a bevvy of berries. Industrious sort that you are, you decide to relocate them near your town so you can safely harvest them with as little waiting and travel time as possible. But then you find yourself doing this every time you start a new town, and it gets more elaborate… hedgerows of berry bushes by the dozen become a status symbol, and the sheer density of your silkweed arrangements makes your weavers’ heads spin.
However, such convenience in living-off-the-land runs counter to the design goal for the eventual Northmen - a faction more focused on combat. If they can simply pluck what they want and plonk it in their town immediately, where’s the danger? Where’s the adventure? They’ll be able to build their longhouses and wall off their silkweed gardens almost immediately, and never leave the safety of their happy homes.
So what if we change things up? What if an Herbalist of a certain level was required to relocate plants? It’s easy enough to do - simply grey out the “move” icon on the plants, and when mousing over it, add a tooltip indicating the required Herbalist level. (Edit for clarity: Any Hearthling can move the plant, so long as you have an Herbalist.) Here’s an example breakdown;
Level 0: Flowers - These are outclassed by farming later on (unless you get a seriously dangerous amount of flowers) so they’re fine early targets. It also fits gameplay-wise; you’re not going to be harvesting a lot flowers until you have an Herbalist usually, so it makes sense to hold off on rearranging them until you get one. The Herbalist’s promotion tooltip can also clue players into the notion of “Herbalist levels = move plants”.
Level 1: Berry Bushes / Pear Cactus - A low-hanging fruit (pun!), this makes it a little harder to go scouring the map for berry bushes for that early food security - it’s now a deliberate choice, rather than a freebie. It also prompts hungry hearthlings to venture out further for food early on, prompting more exploration and possible danger…
Level 2: Silkweed - Fine, so you don’t care to leave your safe little town for Berry Bushes. But you’ll definitely be venturing further afar for Silkweed - especially if the dangers of the Northmen’s native climate demands those currently-unused Winter Coats to be made. Forestalling the eventual silkweed-industrial-complex from forming until you’ve done some leveling up (either with an herbalist or a farmer) is a good way to keep things “interesting” for a while.
Level 3 / 4 / 5 / 6: Exotic Plants - Imagine finding a prized Fire Flower, which only grows at the peak of the mountain. With ten of its blossoms, you can craft the legendary Magma Draught, with which the Magma Smith’s Hammer can be blessed. But ten trips up and down the mountain? Man, forget that - especially if the dreaded Mountain Drake keeps reappearing to guard it… he killed your new Footman last time. Better to make one trip, throw it in a pot, and plant it in the center of your illustrious Royal Garden.
There are many more ways to expand on this particular mechanic, of course, but the idea of creating more reasons to venture out with a party is an appealing one. We can do this not only by adding far-away and rare plants, but by keeping them far-away for just a little longer than we do currently.