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What's Everyone Looking For In Strongholds?


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Stronghold as...

1. An investment

- initially it's a money sink that prevents players from feeling they're too rich, or create tension of not having enough to do everything you want initially (XCom)

- eventually players want returns on their investments - bonuses to their characters (class development), profits (merchants) or influence (lord)

- can you upgrade your merchants to a level that your characters are interested in checking their stuff regularly? Merchants stock the crafting components you want, instead of players having to scavenge for them

 

2. An extension to the character

- possibly class specific specialization based on building investment selections (wiz research tower vs commerce buildings vs political court vs balanced?)

- Evolves visually/figuratively to reflect the character's personality/ideals. Noble or foreboding?

- stokes ego - prestige and pride

 

3. More gameplay

- quest and character development

- how does the stronghold affect the surrounding area and people and vice versa? Are you considered weak to be conquered, or so successful that people want to join?

- trading in Storm of Zehir was fun, but how to tie it closer to the story? Perhaps you could enter contracts then influence the price through major events (BG1 iron shortage) through quests and story development - more "on topic" and better pacing

- politics, actions, consequences and spin. It's presidential debate season afterall

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Spreading beauty with my katana.

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The first thing that I would say is that I think the stronghold should be approached like it is a character unto itself. What I mean is that I want to "level" and customize my stronghold similar to what I do with my own character. I enjoyed the Cross-Roads Keep in NVWN2, but thought the mechanic was under developed. Here is what I think would be the optimal utilization.

Starting location: Instead of one stronghold location I think there should be 4 possible options when the stronghold is introduced in the game. You choose the one you like and the other 3 locations do their own thing throughout the rest of the game influenced by the players actions. That way the other 3 locations aren't wasted assets, and can serve as quest locations. Each location could be altered to be more commercial, industrial, military, etc. Here are some examples of various starting locations:

Country Side - This could be a more peaceful option that is more suitable for growing crafting resources and watching over peasant farmers. Maybe the player would treat their stronghold like a land baron presiding over a vast expanse of subsistence farmers.

Trade Route -This stronghold would be on a vital trading artery requiring protection and creating obligations on the player to deal with the merchants passing through. A rogue could customize it to be a thieves' den, a mage could customize it for trading alchemical ingredients/mystical know how, a fighter could make it a training ground to train better patrol guards, a crafter could focus it on making it better for crafting then trading items with the passing merchants.

Sea Side Port - Depending on how much seafaring Obsidian wants to introduce this could be a fun option. The stronghold could be customized to be more like a pirate den, protecting the high seas, or focus just on trade.

Area of Conflict - This would be a stronghold that requires the most management by the player because it is in a strategic military area. The player would have to focus on martialing troops and improving defenses. One fun element could be that the stronghold could be captured for failing to improve it enough so that the player has to recapture it.

The takeaway is that it don't think the selection should be here is commercial, here is industrial, and here is a military location. The locations should have unique feature then the players could customize it towards what they want.

The final suggestion I have is that the stronghold should grow in a more organic way. Instead of paying X resources for an add on and then it magically appears after purchasing it. I would like to see a mechanic were all improvements need to be funded then built overtime. The length of time would be based on availability of resources, number of workers, and their skill level. So if a player wants to build a massive stronghold now, they have to find people to build it and resources to accomplish that goal.

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I want the Stronghold to be necessary (meaning non-optional) because I want it to be integrated with the rest of the game instead being an isolated mini-game. And in order for the stronghold to make good sense, being a de facto lord of a stronghold must dramatically affect the "balance" of the game (compared to what the game would hypothetically be like if you did not become lord of a stronghold).

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Can we get a mortgage from a guild that comes to foreclose the stronghold when payments are behind?

 

Actually I want my guild to do that.

If it's done in the medieval pattern, then a military stronghold is a right granted by the nobility, or earned through force of arms. It's not a house paid for by the owner.

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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I want farmland, and serfs. It'd be nice to feel like your stronghold is self-sufficient and that your character could conceivably retire there after all is done.

 

Given the fact that this game is set in a Renaissance-equivalent period, (i.e. the time of Mercantilism, the last gasps of Feudalism,) that doesn't make much sense. An adventurer is already highly analogous to the roving merchants that inspired Mercantilism (who were typically urbane in their retirement.)

Edited by AGX-17
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I want farmland, and serfs. It'd be nice to feel like your stronghold is self-sufficient and that your character could conceivably retire there after all is done.

 

Given the fact that this game is set in a Renaissance-equivalent period, (i.e. the time of Mercantilism, the last gasps of Feudalism,) that doesn't make much sense. An adventurer is already highly analogous to the roving merchants that inspired Mercantilism (who were typically urbane in their retirement.)

 

It's not set on Earth, therefore Earth history =/ PE history.

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We could still borrow if we want to accelerate its development.

Yes, that's true. But in that case the timeline of the stronghold development would need to be significant in the main campaign. The developers would essentially have to force your hand and make you borrow, or face calamity.

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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We could still borrow if we want to accelerate its development.

Yes, that's true. But in that case the timeline of the stronghold development would need to be significant in the main campaign. The developers would essentially have to force your hand and make you borrow, or face calamity.

 

Unless the devs are planning to include a banking and finance system anyway (perhaps as part of a powerful merchant faction of some sort) the whole mortgage program seems a reach to me and perhaps a waste of resources.

 

What seems more likely is the availablity of more normal quests that could raise money for improvements - which of course is also what is the most likely way that the party would gather the cash to pay the mortgage if there was one -

 

I'm not sure I'm seeing any big advantage to adding the mortgage process other than to add some additional instances for interaction with your lender should he (or you) turn out to be on the "shady" side and of course to satisfy the ever popular "instant gratification" gene by allowing the player to do something immediately (upgrade fortress) instead of having to work for it and progress over time. :disguise:

 

I suppose if done properly it could all turn bad and serve as a real life example of why the wise sage once said - neither a borrower nor lender be... :biggrin:

Nomadic Wayfarer of the Obsidian Order


 

Not all those that wander are lost...

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Hello, I'd just like to point out some neat little (BIG) options I just came up with, that could deeply impact the way you play the game. (Unless anyone has already suggested it/them)

 

-At the bottom of this post everything has been presented in a nutshell, as well as I could describe it-

 

While you normally always do every quest yourself, It would be incredibly nice, if you'd be given the option of having your own soldier's complete those very same quest for you, this would provide us with a new way to experience the game and you are the Lord of your own Stronghold after all.

The different things you could do, e.g. you'd send some soldier's to find out what happened to someone relevant to the main story, a local farmer asks you to find his wife and you'd hire an agent to find it out for you, you're tasked by the king to infiltrate and kill/get information about a specific person.

 

These options would in turn make you to have to train your men, hire the best guy for the job and tell them how to respond to different situations.

If the quest would happen to be a 3-10 chains of events long quest, the person you've sended on the quest would send a messenger to you withing regular interwalls to ask for furter instructions on how to proceed, depending on how well qualified he is for the job or if you've explicitly told him to do so.

 

Do whatever you want soldier, but make sure to get promising results/ Fail this quest and you'll have your head cut of and stuck on a pike on the walls/ I want you to tell me about everything that happens and wait for my orders, if you have to act quickly then remember your training.

-These could be different options on how you'd have your men to act on the missions you send them out to do.

 

Also about the Stronghold itself.

- It would be good if you'd be presented with different options to build your stronghold at/ conquer different strongholds

- To build the stronghold in different styles (ancient greek, renessancé, stoneage (primitive, but effective) or change the conquered strongholds architecture

- To have the lands surrounding the stronghold changed to what you seek e.g. have them dig mines for ore, have flower gardens built to please the visiting nobilities and high ranking merchants/officers (Iséngard in Lotr was first a nice place with trees, grass and flowers. Later on when the orcs came they ripped the ground open, cut down the trees and had the ground turned into a muddy, dirty and bloody mixture, because of the Urukhai)

- Have the option to raze buildings, on your lands, of people you find irritaiting and want to give him a message (Get out of my lands now/ you failed your quest, this is your punishment)

 

Also about the functions of the Stronghold.

- When you find your stronghold to be strong enough (whenever you deem it to be yourself and not some random NPC) you'd be given the option to:

* send your ment to raid villages on other lord's lands

* have your villagers be drafted for different jobs

* have spies sent out to investigate threats and find out ambitious possibilities

* have your own people take you down from power, depending on how you rule and have the possibility to take down the rebellion without loosing your stronghold and lands

* have other lords, monsters, bandits to attack you, offer deals, propose an alliance/peace with you

- You'd have the option to expand your territory and influence, perhaps even take over the throne and become the king, if you're ambitious

- Have small outposts built around your territory and Forward-base's of operation when doing something, like a quest or just pillaging or defending a village

 

Also you'd have the option to have your own character present to oversee all of the above mentioned events or send an ambassador to oversee things to be done as you've had it commanded to.

 

 

 

Everything in a nutshell (I'd suppose):

-Have your underlings to be able to finish quests that your own character could do by themselves (alows you to do some quest by yourself, while you have multiple squads or individuals of underlings to do other quests, that you could also have done by yourself)

-Have your territory to be expandable, lost, as well as the surroundings to be changed to your likings

-Have your influence on with the world of politics be dynamic

-Be able to be able to advance or lose it all, if you want to rule the "world"

-Be present with your character and oversee your drones in action or have a loyal, dependable overlord do it for you (Spawn more overlords!)

 

This would ofcourse be incredibly ambitious, if they'd implement this into the game and it would increase the longevitiy of the game by alot, as well as give modder's opportunities to create their own "perfectly-visioned" Ruler of a Stronghold. (or perhaps something similar that has to do with a STRONGHOLD and what ever you could POSSIBLY do with one)

Edited by Alliancewolf
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Basically I want the stronghold to make sense.

 

I want it to fit seamlessly into the story and preferably have an impact on the story. If I choose the wizardly path I should gather people who long to learn magic (whilst the locals might fear me because fireballs are bad for dry farmland) and if I was a gung ho mageslayer then I should have no ability to hire my own personal mage. If I was a decadent person, I shouldnt be able to hire clerics, but the local thieves guild and slavers might be interested et cetera and ad nauseam.

 

I do not want the stronghold to be a "minigame" just for the sake of it. I want the story to fit. The "Sink" was a great fit but I felt it lacked impact on the world. I was told that I the protagonist let my knowledge seep out into the wasteland but yet I see few examples of it. It would have been a nice idea to be able to build a "teleportation device" between Houses hotel and the sink. The hand held mini thing is cool enough and I realize its a matter of game mechanics but... It just seemed "meh".

 

If you have a stronghold its usually because its worth your time. Its at a strategic point of commerce, a cultural hub, a place where realms collide, it starts a community or it blows new life into the old. If the stronghold feels like its just "stuck" in there, Id rather do without i.

 

Just make it matter.

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"Politicians. Little tin gods on wheels". -Rudyard Kipling. A European Fallout timeline? Dont mind if I do!

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Evryone is looking for Magetower...I will point you in right direction, it is that tall, awe inspiring tower in the middle of compound evryone keeps callng stronghold. Dont worry about Ogres, whn trained, they are mans best friend...cant say same about the Orcs, for them you'd need a whip.

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magic021.jpg

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Give me heads on pikes.

 

I need to think this over a bit more.

 

What is there to think about? Nothing says be aware, like some heads on pikes. Exept big sign held by trained Ogre that says BE AWARE, but in this day and age, you can never rely on common folk's reading ability. People take you more serously whn you are more, eh graphic :getlost:

Edited by Tauron
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magic021.jpg

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Give me heads on pikes.

 

I need to think this over a bit more.

 

What is there to think about? Nothing says be aware, like some heads on pikes. Exept big sign held by trained Ogre that says BE AWARE, but in this day and age, you can never rely on common folk's reading ability. People take you more serously whn you are more, eh graphic :getlost:

You would also have to assume that the ogre would hold the sign facing the right direction. Or that he won't eat the sign. It's hard to find good Ogre help these days.

 

The ability to enhance the stronghold as a reflection of your character could really help make it feel like a home away from (player) home.

I have a lot of questions about what we will be able to do with our land.

 

Will you accept farmers to work the surrounding lands? Will you animate skeletons to work the fields?

Do you recruit hunters for guards, Orcs or death-cultists? Should you train militia archers, Barbarian knaves or Monks?

What Gods will be honored in the Keep's temple? Will there be a temple at all?

How expansive will your dungeon be? Will it be a basic jail, torture chamber or gladiatorial pit?

Can you build a moat and fill it with aquatic horrors or Weresharks?

Are the fields around your keep used for farming or left to grow? If they farm what do they farm?

Are there bees? Can you make mead?

Exactly who is allowed to settle in the community around your keep? Who gets to decide that?

Will your keep be decorated with a particular religion's iconography? Art and relics pillaged from lost tombs? The skeletal remains of they who hath crossed you?

How often does it get harassed by monsters or vandals? What can I do to stop the attacks?

Can I decide where my keep is located or is it in a fixed location?

Do you breed goats and cows or goblins and worgs?

Will there be 'ye olde magike shoppe' for all my potion and magical item needs?

Is my keep going to provide money or require money?

 

I think the ability to build a tall tower as a study is necessary. Where else would the Mage/psion/priest/druid ponder the universe?

Edited by .Leif.
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Give me heads on pikes.

 

I need to think this over a bit more.

 

What is there to think about? Nothing says be aware, like some heads on pikes. Exept big sign held by trained Ogre that says BE AWARE, but in this day and age, you can never rely on common folk's reading ability. People take you more serously whn you are more, eh graphic :getlost:

I guess that's what we should expect from red-robed wizards :p

I do like the idea that the aesthetic you choose also has an effect. So building a gallows, or heads on spikes mean npc dialogue changes a little.

 

 

I think the ability to build a tall tower as a study is necessary. Where else would the Mage/psion/priest/druid ponder the universe?

think big! Why just a tower when you can make it a university for wizardry?

Edited by JFSOCC
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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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In a word, options.

 

I think a stronghold should be mid-late game content that makes the entire journey more epic, similar to the original idea of strongholds in pnp D&D. What you do with it, how you manage it, what you build in it, these should all be options that the player directs.

 

Do you WANT to raise an army and expand your territory by force? Do it.

Do you WANT to grow your stronghold into a staple of the regional economy? Do it.

Do you WANT to become the cultural envy of the surrounding lands, inspiring awe at the architectural achievements you develop? Do it.

Do you WANT to be the pinnacle of cutting edge technology? Do it.

Do you WANT to live in a run-down, neglected village where the huts smell like pig feces? DO IT!

 

Options are where it's at. Like a city management game within an RPG, I think you should be able to control lots of aspects of the stronghold:

 

Building lots of structures

Setting Trade Policies

Setting Laws

Setting the Stronghold Religion(Or lack thereof)

Setting the Tax rate

Setting aside funds/resources for special projects/research

Setting Foreign Policy

Hiring/Training Guards

Hiring/Training Soldiers

Hiring/Training Officers & Seargents

Influencing how "seedy" and underhanded you allow your stronghold to become by the choices you make.

Commanding Guards/Soldiers on what to do. (ex: Patrol roads, patrol outlying villages, raid caravans, raid villages, extort our citizens, prepare for war, etc)

Being ABLE to pursue war and expansion, should you desire it.(But not necessarily making it part of some main storyline)

Being able to rebel against your liege lord, if you have one.

 

I'd also like to see far more npcs being "recruitable" to become citizens within your stronghold than was done in NWN2. It would actually be awesome if the -majority- of NPCs in the game could at least be approached about it, having the conversation options become available once you had the stronghold, even if you don't have the space to support them. It'd be cool to see the results of over-recruiting with gilded promises, only to have a huge homelessness problem in your stronghold. The results could be rebellion, starvation, mass exodus, etc.

 

Wow, long rant. Strongholds could be AMAZING in a game if enough attention was given to them. Unfortunately, I doubt anyone is willing to take that idea and run with it, as it would have to be built in as an integral part of the game from the start, and not just an afterthought that was added in as a "hmm, this'll be neato."

 

P.S. Lots of great ideas in this thread already. If half of them were implemented, the strongholds in PE would make this game an instant classic.

Edited by BetrayTheWorld
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"When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him." - Jonathan Swift

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