Over the course of last six months or so, I have been pondering how to have some sort of permanent location in game that would change over the time and show player progression. Eventually I settled for a fixed settlement, which also is home of the player character.
The settlement would be something that player can’t visit anymore after the game has started. This allows me to choose different representation of it compared to rest of the game. Essentially it will be a small village or tribe, governed by a chief and a conclave. While player assumes role of the adventurer trying to ascend the labyrinth, they also assume role of the leader of the tribe. And these two modes are loosely linked together.
Each time the adventurer reaches a new location, focus of the game switches back to the tribe. They are shown current situation there, maybe some gossip between members of the conclave and maybe even a special event of some sort. Then they are given task to assing members of the tribe to whatever sounds most important. If space is too crowded, maybe they should build more houses? Or if there aren’t enough resources, maybe a new mine should be opened nearby? Or maybe the previous mine disturbed some monsters and now they have to figure out how to deal with them?
Conclave of course isn’t content on sitting their laurels, but want to have active role in developing the community. Some of them might want to direct your limited resources to a different direction that you wish, so your task is ultimately to try to convince them (or just plain force them, but that wouldn’t be a good long term solution). Simple diplomacy model should allow conclave to form alliances and join in secret groups planning some nefarious (or not so nefarious) actions in the tribe.
From time to time, if you have enough resources, you could even send an expedition that tries to catch up with our brave adventurer and deliver some goods to them. These might include better weapons, healing potions, food and such. On the another hand, if your adventurer finds something especially useful, they might choose to leave it behind, marked with a bright red flag in hopes that the expedition will find it. Such things could be potent artifacts (although, why wouldn’t they choose to utilize it on their journey?) or pieces of lost technology which allows the tribe to build wondrous machines.
Another (perhaps) neat idea I had is that there would be more indirect influence between modes. Disturb nest of monsters in adventure mode and they might show up in the tribe mode. Treat visitors well in tribe mode and they might later return the favour for your adventurer. There are plenty of possibilities and I’m pretty excited about coding this.