NPCs and Player Structures / Settlements

Pathfinder Online

Goblin Squad Member

Player run towns and settlements-

I've got my creative juices flowing so I am just going to throw these ideas out there and see what you guys think. Ever since I first played Age of Empires II, I have felt it would be amazing to play a strategy game from the perspective of a single unit. Some ideas people have been throwing out there... really make me think Pathfinder could go for the gold, and make this world be like living in a RTS.

Staring your empire-

It is already confirmed that there will be player built structures such as inn's, watchtowers, hideouts, and forts. This idea includes NPCs into those ideas so that these buildings are constantly doing... something. Depending on their purpose.

For example say you build an inn. That inn will attract not only players who need a place to rest and grab a hot meal before they continue about their business. But NPCs who are traveling may stop at your inn as well. Depending on the NPC population in the area you may get a pretty constant stream of NPC costumers. You won't be online constantly to service those NPC costumers, or all the player costumers for that matter, so you can hire employees to cook the food, serve your customers, clean their rooms, and maybe even a bard to play music and entertain people in the dining area. If you get too many rowdy customers you may hire a bouncer or two, who will double as light protection should your inn come under attack. As your inn becomes more popular mercenaries and henchmen may start hanging around that people can come there to hire. So by properly managing your inn, it becomes an NPC hotspot that not only draws in revenue for you, but will attract other players.

So now you have a thriving inn, and you are starting to roll in some cash. The problem is that this increased activity has also lead bandits to build a hideout nearby, and those bandits are robbing your patrons. It is starting to hurt your business, and if it goes on too long, the bandits may attack your inn. You're afraid your bouncers and the mercenaries hanging out in your dining area may not be enough to hold them back.

So you take some of the money you have spent up, and build a watchtower. Then you use the profits you are making to hire guards and keep them fed/paid. Of course at this point your tavern is importing a lot of food too so that you can feed your employees, guards, and patrons. Once the watchtower is set in place you tell your guards to patrol the road, and to come to the aid of your tavern if it rings its new alarm bell. Because your tavern is so wealth, and you hired many guards, they are very successful in protecting your patrons and food shipments. In fact, the bandit morale drops so low that NPC bandits start abandoning the hideout, and the players decide to build a hideout somewhere else.

Now you have a thriving business and the area is secure. Other players start to take notice, and a few build homes and farms in the area. You being a business minded person who like to turn a profit have an idea. You go to the homes and say "I'm not paying my guards to keep your homes safe. They are to protect my tavern and patrons. But if you pay taxes to me. I'll tell them to protect your homes as well." The players agree, and the guards are set to protect their homes as long as they come to the tower each week and pay a 50 silver tax. While players were the first to see the benefit of living near your tower, NPCs catch on soon after. And NPC farms begin to pop up within the towers area of influence, and they likewise are programmed to come to you seeking protection for a tax as well. Plus with them, your charisma, diplomacy, and haggling skills will help you get a better contract.

Now you have really got things under control. Not only are you running a thriving tavern but you are raking in profits from taxation. Especially since players are using your tavern and paying your taxes, since players are much more loaded than NPCs. You decide your little tavern is not ambitious enough. You want to control the entire hex! And so you build a few more watchtowers, and a fort. Now each watchtower has signal fires, and messengers. If they come under attack they will send a signal fire, and send out a messenger who will inform the fort of how many forces have come against you if he makes it there alive.

Word of your settlement begins to spread. Many more players come and start building mines, shops, ports complete with trade and fishing vessels. You even build your own naval port to protect those vessels and costal structures from pirates. Traders begin showing up to bring supplies your settlement has little of, and export things you have excess of.

As your town begins to thrive you decide you want to be mayor of the hex. The players who already see you as their mayor support this idea. Even if they didn't you could use your guards to institute martial law. But you aren't a bastard, so you talk to your neighbors first.

Running Your Empire

You declare yourself mayor, and decree that there is to be a 2.5% flat tax on all goods and transactions within your hex. Anyone within your hex could refuse to pay the taxes or accept the laws your guards are set to enforce... but your guards would attack them, and their property. This was a popular move anyhow, so it goes uncontested. The tax is reasonable so no NPCs revolt either. The game now recognizes you or your company, as the ruler of this hex.

Some NPCs and players have established temples in your hex. As your first order of business you decide which gods, and alignments you will allow the worship of in your hex. You decide to outlaw the worship of all evil deities. The temple of Asmodeus is burned to the ground. Your popularity rises among the many followers of Iomedae and Sarenrae living in your hex. You win the loyalty of their clerics and paladins who will now march among your fighter class guards enforcing your laws, and taking your orders.

Religion is important to running a large town. Temples are one of the only things that does not require tax revenue, and does not generate it. Instead many of your NPCs, and your more faithful players will tithe to the temples, making them grow. Most common benefits of temples are clerics, paladins, and monks, as well as that they convert your NPC population, and make followers of those deities more happy with your rule. You may even align your hex with a certain deity, increasing the prestige of that church in your hex, and how much that church and its followers respect you and your rule.

Different temples give different benefits. For instance temples of Iomedae give you many paladins, while a temple to Cayden Cailean will increase the popularity of alcohol at your inn, and increase your population of good aligned mercenaries. While as previously stated, these temples will support themselves, you can make personal donations or donate city funds to them, to increase their power, and your popularity with them.

Your many new mines has seen a couple very skilled blacksmiths open up shop, and that has increased the quality of gear used by your guards, paladins, clerics, and mercenaries. Two hexes over a cruel overlord exploits the people he forcefully took power over with heavy taxes. While some have migrated to your more prosperous and freedom loving city, some stay behind unwilling to give up the businesses and homes they have invested so much in. You hatch a plan.

You pay some of the more adventurous players in your hex to go in search of a cleric of Cayden Cailean, and give them a message. If they build a temple to their god in your town, you will pay all of their expenses. Soon a cleric responds to your call and a temple is formed. You then hire freedom fighters from the temple to go and start an underground rebellion in that hex. Some of your citizens even take it upon themselves to build a hideout for the rebellion. Then you take many of your guards, clerics, and paladins, hire many mercenaries from the inns, ports, and the temple to Cayden Cailean, and lay siege to the vile overlord's settlement. The freedom fighters found many rebels because of his cruel policies and taxation, and they all join your army. The siege takes several stages. First you destroy his watch towers protecting the farms, homes, and settlements surrounding his town. They stop paying taxes to him. Then you lay siege to the wall around his main settlement. There is many guards posted on this wall but your forces are numerous and you have many good archers. After a couple days his walls fall, your forces move inside, beating his forces back into the main fort, and you begin to pound on their walls. They are thick and strong so it will take three days.

In desperation the overlord hires bandits and mercenaries to attack your town. This war is costly and you cannot continue it long without new revenue. The bandits catch you off guard but you quickly raise a civilian militia, who along with your guards and paladins left behind, manage to keep the bandits from destroying more than a couple farms and homes.

After the walls of his fort fall your forces surge inside, overwhelming his forces, and capturing his throne room. You declare yourself the mayor of his town, and sit victorious. For now, because word has quickly spread and a nearby kingdom has turned a wary eye toward you and your growing kingdom...

Goblin Squad Member

Now that sounds like a lot of fun. The only question on my mind is how much of a scenario like that should be fueled by NPC interaction? How much from Player initiative?

Goblin Squad Member

Very cool. We definitely want to keep most of this interaction between players instead of NPCs.

Goblin Squad Member

Skwiziks wrote:
Now that sounds like a lot of fun. The only question on my mind is how much of a scenario like that should be fueled by NPC interaction? How much from Player initiative?

Basically NPCs would be doing things like firing catapults at stationary walls, keeping a steady flow of cash into businesses and tax coffers and being the general cannon fodder of armies.

In order to make a real army, or make real profits at some point you would need player interactions. Players would be the wealthy and powerful adventurers or highly skilled craftsmen. They would basically make up the noble and elite of a society while NPCs would be your commoners and peasants. If you sort of look at the prices of things in D&D its clear your average player character is VERY wealthy compared to your average commoner. So this should reflect that. NPCs are going to come into your town and send a few copper on some crappy iron tools or weapons and armor, a dry room, some bread and cheap ale.

When good business opportunities arise NPCs would wait to jump on it at least a week or maybe even a month, encouraging players to fill gaps in the market rather than NPC. NPCs would basically be there more to generate meager tax revenue and make sure needs are filled if no players do. Players could also would have a heavy advantage when competing against NPC businesses. An NPC business is going to offer filler gear that would be used by other NPCs or a desperate player. Any real high quality items, will come from crafting and adventuring. Think about the armor vendors in WoW or Lord of the Rings Online. A player would never use that stuff other than out of desperation.

There will be good reasons to try to draw crafters into your town to set up shop, or clerics to run your temples. Player ran operations will be top notch. Especially if the player is smart. If you want a +3 mastercrafted bow of humanslaying, or even just potatoes at a price that isn't 50% more than it is really worth... you need to be looking in player shops.

Likewise a player is going to come into town and order a mug of your finest mead, your finest room, expensive gear, and mastercrafted equipment (It might not by expensive to the player but it will compared to the few copper an NPC will blow on your crap food and ale). A party of players who go on a shopping spree in your town would make you at least as much revenue as a week worth of NPCs and their transactions.

That said a player character wouldn't just wade through your guards like Sauron in the first scene of Lord of the Rings. One player would be a match for three or five NPCs, but they couldn't just ride into town and faceroll a thriving towns guard on their own. They would have to have a committed raid where they come as a group or even bring NPC allies of their own. Or do it rouge style and run around doing assassinations and sabotage. Also, realism would take a backseat to viable mechanics in this scenario. It would take about 10 minutes for a guard to respawn and a couple hours for NPCs to repair damaged businesses unless you level it with siege weapons. Then it might take days or even weeks depending on your cities' morale. Small raids shouldn't be the end of a town. Just a hindrance. Fully committed long-term Sieges should shut down a town.

Lantern Lodge

You know Andius, I like your thinking.

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