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AI Response to Killing Villagers An interesting thread is going on in Gameplay Questions -> Psychic enemies (started by PoisonPen - .  It has to do with village NPC responses to a player who kills NPCs.  PoisonPen is arguing the game mechanic is broken because he can't snipe from safety (a mischaracterization of his post, but go read it and the responses). 

I'd recommend that the AI be adapted so the villagers behave somewhat rationally when a NPC villager is killed.  I recommend there be two phases of villager reaction when when a NPC villager is killed. 

First, if a player attacks, the village can gang-up on them as the AI currently has it.  However, if the NPC villager is killed, I recommend the villagers respond differently than by staying aggressive to eventually become breathless and easy to pick off one-by-one.  The villagers could respond to a death by:

  • The warriors, hunters, and adventurers remain the principle combatants in a village while the women, children, and shamen/sages and tradesmen/craftsmen are secondary defenders who wait until the warrior/class are engaged or eliminated before attempting to fight or assist. 
  • The villagers won't chase a person too far away from the village or other NPC villagers for support.
  • They flee to a fortified building that they decide to defend.  Maybe they can shut and bar a door so the player can't just open a door and walk in.  The player would then need to hack through the door and wade into a defended building.  This might open expanded building options for defensive structures in buildings (barred door, closable shutters, defensive fences or walls in some villages. 
  • Villagers could try to smoke out or burn down a building where a NPC killing player is hiding.  (EDIT: taptap's idea)
  • If an attacked village is near another village (and especially if connected by roads), consider reinforcements and more fighting NPC arriving after an appropriate time.

Second, there needs to be longer-term consequences for killing NPC villagers. 
  • Maybe the non-combatant villagers flee to surrounding world tiles/villages once a NPC is killed.  The fleeing NPCs could warn others and prompt a lowering of the player's reputation in a given culture.  This might allow the player to loot a village, but the remaining culture would then be hostile to the player.  Maybe a player's worsening reputation, after repeated NPC killing would spill over to neighboring cultures.  Eventually, the NPC killing player would find no safe refuge.
  • This might be a challenge, and might need balance issues, but consider having roving bands of NPCs that would pose a threat for a village-killing player.  For example, if a player gains a hostile reputation from killing many NPCs from a culture (or from non-affiliated forresters), maybe that culture sends hunting parties after them.  These hunting parties wouldn't spawn unless a player's reputation got bad enough from killing NPCs in villages.  This hunting party would be like roving bands of foreign traders but from the revenge-seeking culture.  These hunting parties would be armed and armored and maybe they bring some dogs too.  Then, if the player has a hostile reputation (from killing NPC villagers), the hunting party would become aggressive and attempt to fight the player or raid the payer's settlement (take gear and equipment, burn down buildings, take livestock).

I believe a player's behavior and attitude about killing villager NPCs would change if there were more risk to it.  Players wouldn't be able to have a "safe" area if they might encounter roving bands of warriors/hunters/adventurers who are tracking them down.  I also imagine that in real life, if a rogue hermit was wandering into Iron-age villages and killing everyone, the word would have gotten out and a coalition of villages might send a party for vengeance. 

December 04, 2017, 07:17:37 PM
Re: AI Response to Killing Villagers While I agree the idea to burn fools who try to make a stand in a building is a good one, the credit should to to taptap, not me.

Also, I've never actually had any character attack any village: Njerp villagers attacked my character on sight, so wiping out the village is a purely defensive action of fending off a large wave of attackers who attacked unprovoked (and I've even tried to let fleeing Njerp civilian run, but they eventually turn around and attack again).

And yes, killing enough "civilized" (i.e. non Njerp) civilians should have dire consequences, and man hunting parties would be a good implementation of consequences, especially if they can locate and ransack/attack/destroy the player character's homestead. Getting attacked while asleep in the bed, or even better, having the homestead burned down and the door barred should drive home the message that rampaging man slaughter has consequences.

December 04, 2017, 08:17:32 PM