Q: You recently made the new Research Doc available. What is this document and how does it relate to the basic TN game?
The Research Document, or ResDoc for short, is a GM controlled document that lists all available approved research topics for TribeNet. These research topics become available to players as soon as they are approved and a tribe in the player's clan reaches level 10 in a skill. Once that happens, they may begin researching topics under that skill.
There are over 900 research topics at last count and this document keeps them all together and accessible to the players. If a research topic is not in the ResDoc, it has not been approved by Peter and thus not available for use in the game.
Q: Why do we need research?
Research is how we all customize our Clans and allow it to do more than wander the realm looking for food. If you want to build great roads, that's a research topic. If you want to weave exotic rugs, that's a research topic. If you want to have knights in heavy armour with great lances and war dogs at their feet, that is a lot of research topics.
Q: Isn't it a waste of time spending all those skill attempts on probably failing level 9s when I could be picking up a whole lot of level 5s and 6s?
It isn't a waste in the long run. After a certain point, you need to specialize your tribes and skills to get more out of them. While it may take a while to get to level 9 and then 10 in a skill, each level gives you a bonus of some kind and level 10 also gives you research. Research can be seen as a multiplier to your ability to run a clan. The simplest research topics makes your people more efficient at a task allowing fewer to be assigned and freeing up others to go to work.
So how long does it take to get a level 10? And then say I wanted a topic that was a DL5. Would it be worth the wait?
Sometimes it takes forever to get to Level 10 and sometimes it doesn’t take that long.
So roughly 33 turns to get to 10 and another 27 turns to get to DL 5 for a total of 60 turns which is 5 game years. However...
You aren't restricted to a single tribe and a single research attempt. You can do secondary attempts on other skills at 1/2 chance and pay teachers for an attempt at a third skill in a tribe. You'll be simultaneously working on a great number of skills and while some skills may drag, others will fly by. The real key is to focus on what you want to accomplish for each tribe and head that way. You'll get to a 10 in no time and once you get one 10, the rest keep coming.
Q: If some clans are that far advanced, what chance does a new clan have of competing with them?
A very good chance. The key is specialization and allies. Specialize your tribes and specialize your clan. Not all the clans in an alliance require the ability to make steel. One or two people can head in that direction, which frees up the others to focus on ships or engineering for defensive buildings or Armour to make full plate using the steel the ally can make. As a clan advances, the research topics grow in complexity and take longer and longer to get the same or reduced benefits. While it will be very hard to catch up completely, you'll be able to be on the same tier as older players in reasonable time, especially if you utilize your alliance mates and Scholars/Native Operatives.
Q: Is it possible for me to design my own research topic? How do I go about doing that?
Yes, it is possible for you to design your own research topics, but first ask yourself if there isn't something already available. There are a lot of topics to choose from. There are simply too many for any single clan to have them all, so it’s possible that you can design your own unique Clan from topics that are already available.
If you want to design your own, read the structure of existing topics carefully and make sure the benefits are equal to other similar topics or the DL level is balanced with the effect, etc.
There are a lot of research topics and more are being added every few turns. That means that the complexity of the game will continue to increase as more and more topics are added. The goal then is to have research topics that don't require a lot of GM admin involvement or code but still add something interesting and useful to the game.
Q: Does it mean that I can shape my clan into whatever culture I want? Like could I become a mountain clan or something by designing research topics specially for my people?
Not only can you, but you should. Research topics really are how a clan is personalized and how clans differ from each other.
A research topic called Training allows you to gain Terrain Proficiency over time in a given type of terrain. So you could focus on getting Terrain Proficiency (increase combat damage) in Low Jungle Mountains. You can get Masons / Master Masons / Greater Masons to do more and more quarrying allowing you to build large stone structures. You could devise some research topics dealing specifically with mountains (aqueduct from snowmelt from the peaks, tunnel defense, cliff side sacrifices to the heart of the mountains, etc).
This is what personalizes your clan and drives it towards becoming a civilization.
Q: Wow, that’s interesting. What do you think are the best research skills to have?
RESEARCH. Everyone should have research to get Scholars. Scholars are amazing (as are Native Operatives under Intelligence). One person in your alliance needs Research to build everyone else Universities in order to do more than 1 research topic per tribe at a time.
COMBAT. Start working on Home Guard and then Army. That will give you a 40% across the board
increase in the damage you cause your enemies.
25' Stone Wall in the same Tribe as Pol 10: This gets you Castle and Nations.
Thanks for your time. It certainly seems that TN can be played on many different levels.