Now, things are getting better, as I finally remembered that "there is always another option" and we knew the Orlanth and Aroka quest. We didn't have any competent Orlanthi or Vingans, but we do have a very studly Elmali who went and walked in Orlanth's footsteps, improving our combat abilities. This let us sieze cows and treasure from one clan, and then to maul a force of horse *spit* spawn, seizing many horses. We gifted one clan that was well disposed to us with some of the horses, *then* followed up with an envoy trying to set up a trade route, and that was what finally worked.
I might add that I'm trying to do this game without using the Challana Arroy peace bomb, so there simply aren't that many clans around who like us, which is a factor when setting up trade routes, I believe.
I'm not saying its impossible, but when you are in a position where you can't afford to build shrines, can't afford to give gifts, and can't afford to hire thanes, it does make for a long slow road up out of the troubles. For players who want their clan to thrive quickly, they may want to try another option, is all I was trying to say.
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