This guide is based on my experiences in game, and explains some of the confusion with food supplies in Towns and Castles.
Information and Explanations
First a quick overview of the impact of war in the middle ages:
Peasants, while the backbone of any society, were largely considered expendable and unimportant by the nobles. So when armies were raised families went short handed and often undefended. They would also be expected to supply food and anything else that was demanded. This left settlements without their best workers and defenders, potentially without food and some times they would be unable to sustain themselves.
During war civilians would be killed, farms and homes burned leaving nothing but destruction.
Also during this time towns and villages were dependant on caravans to bring much needed goods to grow and prosper.
This system is basically how Bannerlord’s economy works. You need to protect your supply lines or you will starve, Medieval Lords were often only concerned with their own and if there wasn’t enough of something they blamed the “lowly” peasants. Which is why you see NPC factions having the same issues in many cases. (endless war = endless expense).
Feeding the People (Guide)
Food is a tricky issue in Bannerlord, but hopefully this will help some of you get your towns sorted.
Unlike in Warband, where you could directly manage your villages, Bannerlord does not let you build up your villages manually even though they are REALLY important for keeping food supplies up.
Villages produce what they can, some are better for food while others may be better at making things like tools.(Towns will use some non-food items, check the consumption lists for each town in your game)
Those villages will sell any surplus they make to caravans/armies, raids decimate the village for quite a while and cost them much of their goods. (Raided villages contribute nothing until they recover)
The goods produced at the village will be transported by Caravans/Villagers/Armies to markets(unless they need it for their troops).
Once the goods are sold to the Town’s Market, the Town will now count those goods towards the Town production numbers (these goods can still be bought from the town which could lead to shortages)
If a Town has enough food in it’s market, the town will actually start to produce it’s own food based on aspects like loyalty, prosperity and orchards (food production building in Town management screen)
After any settlement is involved in a battle the collateral damage will have the town suffering for a long while unless you bring them what they desperately need.
*NOTE: Castles do not have a market and thus are even more reliant on caravans.
After you rebalance the the settlements you will still encounter food problems, but generally not as severe (provided they don’t get caught in a war). This is caused by prosperity rising from your deeds, thus attracting more mouths to feed, and people having offspring. Raids and wars will always cause trouble for settlements, so try to make sure they are adequately supplied and protected without going overboard. (troops and militia eat a lot of food, also remember that battle quite often means the Town will be out of supplies and maybe even repairs)
The Player can try to mitigate some of the starvation and chaos by sending their own heroes out as supply caravans, checking and supplying towns themselves and having multiple patrols out to keep bandits away from villages.
I hope this helps players understand some of the logic behind the chaos, and how to mitigate the unrest caused by the starving masses.