Well, it probably depends a bit on how much you are willing to go back to old saves....
I have found points, usually early in the game, when we are short on cows, don't have enough horses to bring in new weaponthanes (but most of those we did have have died), we have essentially no goods, etc. Sometimes around then you'll get lucky with an event, otherwise it usually calls for going double or nothing on a hero-quest--that is align all your efforts for a year on being ready for a quest and set up your sacred time magic to give you the best chance on the quest, knowing that if you fail you are in even worse shape.... which is where being willing to go back to a save before the HQ is handy, (i.e. taking a couple of shots at it, so that if you have any reasonable chance of succeeding, you do so).
Or to put it another way, as is typical with Glorantha, the answer often is a heroquest.
I often play Ernaldan clans because the ease and utility of their early heroquests, and when all else fails, doing a couple of their quests within four years can usually turn things around (typically first one to make the cows healthier, leading to bigger herds, the second typically to deal with another acute need, like making the farmers happy or making friends with the elves as that one leads to getting some goods). The general benefit of increased crop yield will usually mean excess food soon enough, which we can also trade.
For Elmal the emergency quest is almost always to gain Elmal aid when we are attacked.
This makes for a slow slog back to prosperity, as we are losing less, but it does not help in gaining more directly, but over time if raids are not so punishing you can usually find trade goods on your tula and get your issaries shrine built and get a trade route or two built, and start to pull out of it. But I do find Elmal can be one of the slower clans to prosper.
Orlanthi clans are maybe the hardest to choose benefit. Often I go for strengthening the leader, as with a good war leader we'll win more battles offensively and defensively, but those still have a large random component. Sometimes I'll go for stronger warriors, or even a treasure (to sell or give away to end a feud).
--- On Sun, 4/3/11, David Dunham <david@...> wrote:
From: David Dunham <david@...>
Subject: [KoDP] Death spiral?
Received: Sunday, April 3, 2011, 2:40 PM
I'm in the process of tuning KoDP, primarily to make it a bit easier. I think the term "death spiral" has been used on a number of occasions, and I'm trying to understand that. I'm not sure that there's really a positive feedback problem, where you get into a situation in which everything you do pushes you closer to losing. It may be instead that you're simply on the brink of economic collapse, and a bad harvest tips you into a long, slow decline. (Or that it knocks out enough population that you can't recover, which is pretty much the same thing.)
David Dunham http://a-sharp.com Twitter: @KingDragonPass
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