Famines are Natural Disaster.
At a Glance Edit
- Use local wealth to import food, higher death rates the less wealth available
- Caused by poor weather, local food availability, overcrowding and Province Trauma
- Triggered at regional level, but affect provinces individually
A famine represents a large scale food shortfall severe enough to stifle population growth, cause wealth to be spent on food imports and potentially devastating mass die offs. Famines occur at the regional level and are caused by a combination of severe weather conditions, poor local food availability, overcrowding, looting and province trauma in general. While they trigger at a regional level, each province will be affected differently based on the conditions on the ground.
Famines tend to hit on the heels of other trouble, so remember that while getting half your country looted hurts, it might not be over yet!
Annually every population growth cycle, regions calculate a "famine risk" based on a number of variables: province trauma, weather conditions, local nutrition, population density, etc. As the name suggests, famine risk determines the likelihood of a famine striking, but also its regional severity. By and large, a region's famine risk is pretty intuitive. If it's been pretty beat up in recent days, if it's over crowded, and if there is a severe drought... then you should be worried. Famines can show up even in good times if the weather is dismal, but famines more often than not come on the heels of other bad stuff like warfare and plague. If all of those different factors conspire together... then the famine will be devastating.
Since weather is related on a continental, sub-continental, regional level, bad weather at a higher level will often cause famines in neighboring regions. These regions will be affected differently based on their individual regional weather and the other variables influencing famine risk.
[might add a section on the actual calculation and weighting of factors at the bottom, not sure. Or maybe drop a 'click here for more!' style link...]
Once a famine takes grip in a province, the local people will sensibly try to spend whatever money they have to import food so as to not die. Urban Pops deduct from the provincial Urban Wealth pool which means wealthy cities may be hurt financially, but won't experience the mass death more impoverished towns will. Rural Pops likewise draw from their wealth pool and provinces with thriving farming estates or mines will survive, while poorer peasants will die in droves. [might be wrong] Up to one building can be liquidated to ease the famine.
Ex. Multiple Disasters in Italy Edit
From game to game, some regions get trashed pretty bad while others manage to maintain peace and break ahead. For instance, here Italy uncharacteristically gets ruined for 50 years by plague, famine, and war. Most of the great merchant cities have been leveled, with some being less than half their size. Venice is the last bastion of strength.
The little village icons with the fire represent the degree of province trauma and the little wheat symbols represent general famine. Intuitively, the lighter the color the less severe the disaster. The Florentine famine is nearly over (since the icons are now green), but Florence has especially been ruined, so much so that it is lost its center of production modifier and got demoted to a minor center of trade.
It takes several disasters to hobble such a prosperous sub-continent, and even so, the innate conditions that led to Italy's rise in the first place will slowly raise it up to prosperity again, barring further calamity of course! Had only a famine beset Italy, the wealthy provinces would have lost some wealth importing food, but that would have been the extent of their misfortune, with high incomes replenishing losses within a decade.
Severe Famine in Poor, Agrarian Society Edit
So what happens if less well off regions get hit?
A mere five years into an already poorly started Danish campaign, war-torn Scandinavia collectively gets hit by a severe drought and plunges everyone into famine. In 1356, Denmark has 500,000 citizens, almost exclusively rural, and most provinces' wealth ranges from 75 to less than 50 ducats, a pittance. Over the next decade a severe famine ravages the countryside reducing the wealth to less than 50 in almost every province across the country, then proceeds to eviscerate the proud Danish population down to a mere 300,000 lean souls.
Meanwhile, my foes the rebelous Sverge were also hit by a famine, but escaped with only 'widespread hunger.' The nation ruined and bleeding money, the Danes were forced to stomach a humiliating peace.
While these utterly ruinous bouts are rare, given the right circumstances and potential mismanagement, they can obliterate a country.
Raw Update Source Material Edit
Update 37 Edit
Alright, so I feel like famine is finally on track now. The base structure and function of famine is more or less complete and operable. It just needs to properly kill people now, but that's pretty easy.
SO, the way famine works...
Famine is a regional affair. Every population growth cycle, regions calculate a "famine risk" based on a number of variables: province damage, weather conditions, local nutrition, population density, etc. Most of these variables basically already exist from the pop system in general. The worse the region's famine risk gets, the more likely a famine will strike. Also, the worse the region's famine risk gets, the more and more likely that famine will be severe if/when it does come. By and large, a province's famine risk is pretty intuitive. If its been pretty beat up in recent days, if its over crowded, and if there is a severe continental or subcontinental drought... then you should be worried. Famines can show up even in good times if the weather is dismal, but famines more often then not come on the heels of other bad stuff like warfare and plague. If all of those different factors conspire together... then the famine will be devastating.
When a famine is triggered, it then targets every province in the region. Provinces in worse shape, which are more overcrowded, etc. are struck harder. The extent of the famine is visible from the map mode. There is an internal ticker in each regional triggered famine which slowly begins to heal the province, but depending on how severe the famine is, it could last years. Typically, the very act of the famine arriving itself helps to diminish famine over time (after all, people starving to death or migrating away due to food shortage will reduce overcrowding and reduce nutrition deficit which reduces the famine strength).
Once every province in the region is finally famine-free, the famine officially ends, the modifiers are removed, and things gradually return to normal. Every province is then given a hidden modifier lasting 5 years which prevent famine from returning.
Eventually, I'll create lots of handy little events that occur during famine which will tax your country: peasants will demand tax relief, migrants will attempt to leave, you might have the option to scramble to import food at great expense in order to reduce the severity of the famine...
For now, the system is mostly integrated into the population growth scripts. Hopefully I'll be able to post some screen shots soon.
Edit: Also, keep in mind, famines don't explicitly target countries. They target regions. HOWEVER, whether a famine strikes or not--- and how badly certain provinces in a region are hit--- is very, VERY heavily dependent on how countries who own provinces in that region act. So for instance, if you share half a region with another country who has been fighting long, hard, brutal wars, they might abuse their side of the border so bad that the entire region gets dragged into a famine. However, provinces on YOUR side will fare much, much better, especially if you take measures to alleviate the famine on your side of the border.