This is something I've mentioned before. And I'm going to mention it now.
At the moment, cities are factories and warehouses. They hold no value other than doing fancy things with resources, and sometimes they are useful for defending a location (IE, a high defense city on a land bridge).
What does that mean? It means that unless cities are being used for something (war) they are utterly worthless. We have a bunch of citizens who spend their days twiddling their thumbs, eating fishsticks, and dancing the macarena. If you want to do anything else (pursue peace) then you have cities that sit around and do absolutely nothing.
That doesn't sound too bad, right? Think about it like this - you are sitting next to Capitar and Pariden. You've all been fighting against a massive incursion of Fallen, and the war has ended. Capitar and Pariden both like you, and they like each other, so you guys are friends. The Fallen are recuperating, you and your allies are recuperating.
Which means you get to spend turns doing absolutely nothing but waiting, building up soldiers, and preparing for war. Again. In short, it means that if you aren't fighting, you are constantly clicking 'end turn' to improve research, until you decide to tear apart your allies, or until the Fallen lay siege to you and your friends again.
To me, this is BORING. It means that the only time you can do something productive is when you are leading soldiers. Cities are relegated to holding troops, making troops, and doing fun filled stuff with research. I'd love to see this remedied...but how? Well, I have a few ideas.
- First, why is it my capital city has nearly three thousand citizens who aren't paying me taxes? One thing to make cities more useful - let us tax our people. Have higher-tier cities be able to build a Tax Office (Civilization tree) that takes taxes from citizens. Let's say...level 4 cities. All other cities can produce taxation, but only when your tax collectors visit them. This makes keeping your lands safe something to do, and requiring attention and resources.
- Second, let the nobles, guilds, and various powerful people in our faction have a say, an opinion, and be important. Give factions a number of possible noble families and other groups who will want a say. Give those factions their own little events, which is a collection of various uprisings, challenging opinions, and matters of importance.
- Noble families will act as mini minor factions. Each player faction will have a few of these nobles (randomly generated or premade) who will act on their own to accomplish things. Nobles will have various likes and dislikes - they will like those who are on their side, and gradually come to hate those who are against them. If you support one family, the opposing family will not be pleased. Thus, you have options - you can be involved in politics, and make political allies and enemies alike. Or you can stand back, letting the nobles fight it out on their own.
- There are risks and rewards for both options. Nobles will frequently pose requests to you, such as requestin swaths of land, access to various things, etc. At the same time, each noble family will have their own family members, who will go out and try to accomplish things on their own. In times of war, nobles will bolster your fighting force, as their sons go to battle with your troops, or stay behind and help maintain a militia. They will also not take to switching overlords easily, even if they are displeased with you - which means that if you try to retake your cities later, your attacking troops will be bolstered by rag-tag soldiers who support you as their Sovereign.
- Further, noble houses that like you will actively support you in various endeavors, and will gladly offer their kids as Champions. You gain options for taking advantage of the noble's pleasure, such as getting unique soldiers, speeding up training, increased income, etc.
- However, families that hate you will become more of a danger than usual. How so? First and foremost, if nobles are given enough power, and they hate you, they can (and will) actively try to make your life difficult. This can be as simple as selling information to as complex as trying to kill you off in an assassination attempt.
- If you decide to stay out of politics, you may find that, eventually, sides may be taken. If you have 4 noble houses, 2 may side against 2, or 3 on one...etc. These houses may become so bold as to engage in a civil war in your cities, with nobles duelling each other to the death, and generally raising mayhem. You can naturally shut them down (by sheer force - you ARE the Sovereign) but the problems will still be lingering under the surface.
As an example...House Mulvar (Warlike, Arrogant, Strong) is a family that seeks to prove their superiority through combat. They know that they are better than anyone else, and their actions - swift, strong, and decisive - shows their preferences. Children of House Mulvar gain +4 strength (Strong), -2 Charisma, Intelligence (Arrogant), and +2 to Constitution, Strength, and Dexterity (Warlike).
House Drae (Political, Lustful, Knowledgeable) is another family, which holds pride in having been able to assert their bloodline even through the Cataclysm. Their members have been gathering lore for decades, and categorizing what they can. After so much time spent gathering knowledge, they believe themselves better than everyone else, but lust for more - both knowledge and power. Children of Drae gain +4 Charisma (Political), -2 Strength, Constitution (Lustful), and +2 to Intelligence, Essence (0 normally, only gains 2 if favored by Imbue Champion), and produce 1 research/turn.
These two houses would sometimes conflict - strong and knowledgeable are opposites in this case (-3). Mulvar is naturally going to have problems with other factions because of its arrogance (-1) and any faction that is more powerful than Drae will be natural enemies (-2). Because Mulvar favors combat, and Drae politics, they will only gain anything through that if Drae is doing something warlike. So at the moment, we have a -6. Thus, these two are probably going to fight each other. Frequently.
If you have the support of Mulvar, their Warlike nature will net you the option to increase training speed, while also netting you extra soldieres to defend a city. Further, because of their Strong history, Mulvar champions are going to be stronger fighters out the door.
Drae, on the other hand, is more passive. As politicians, they would aid you by helping you make allies of your nobles. Because of all the power the Sovereign has, however, they will look at you as a being of power - power they want. Drae champions would be great for increasing the income of all research.