Leading a nomadic NPC group as a playstyle - doable?

I am curious if leading a nomadic NPC group may be possible in terms of logistics. A few details:

  1. That group will not use vehicles at all
  2. I am not able to prepare a huge amount of a smoked meat and I do not use vehicles so I cannot transport various containers like kegs etc. My main meal is a starch. How difficult is it to feed and hydrate a small group of NPCs without a static camp?
  3. I want to stay away from cities and attack only those that are not heavily populated with zombies
  4. I plan to use cows in order to transport various tools, weapons, clothes etc but I do not know if they will be able to travel with a fast group of NPCs
  5. I want to build several improvised shelters per each night in order to provide a comfortable place to sleep for my NPCs. Will they sleep inside those shelters?
  6. Will NPCs forage nerby underbushes if ‘pick up items’ options is enabled?

I am aware that some mutations are great for such playstyle, eg NPCs are able to ‘eat’ and ‘drink’ while sleeping on diggable tiles due to their roots, although it difficult to find such mutated NPCs

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  1. NPCs can feed themselves if you give them food. If you give them food that spoils rapidly, you’ll just need to cook food more regularly and give them food more regularly. I suspect it will be tedious but not impossible.
  2. Okay.
  3. Herding cows can be really tedious, since the cows will shy away from danger. That’s not too bad when you’re crossing fields, but if you take cows through a forest, they will move away from dangers that you can not see.
  4. NPCs will try to find a comfortable place to sleep, but the algorithm is a bit flaky.
  5. Autopickup doesn’t include auto-forage as far as I know, and I don’t know if auto-forage would even work for NPCs. I’ll check with KorGgenT to see if it’s possible for NPCs to auto-forage, and then I could add a dialogue option for that.

NPCs won’t forage on their own. They should use shelters since they tend to search for the most comfortable spots to sleep. Feeding them all via foraging is going to be a slog, I recommend batch crafting in very large quantities so they’ll at least help you cook. They should also help you build the shelters so that will alleviate some of the burden, but I would maybe instead recommend making or finding a large tent or shelter kit which can sleep at least six of you and sets up in minutes.

NPCs will eat and drink out of their inventories, so to make the trips easier give them each a medium waterskin and top off the entire team every morning. If you’re doing a starch based diet hardtack might be your best bet. Just make a ton whenever you get to a swamp and keep the extra salt with you since you’ll probably want to make jerky whenever you kill a large animal (since you can’t/won’t smoke it.)

I’ve never used a cow to carry stuff so I don’t know how that’s going to work though. But you can at least get milk too.

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Great thanks for the answers. Herding cows is not so important because I can craft many duffel bags and equip NPCs with them. It wil work for sure. An auto-forage option for NPCs would be GREAT. If I were able to write a new code and to cope with jsons I would add the options for NPCs that are able without a faction camp:

  1. to gather firewood, food and water
  2. to make a fire ring and start fire
  3. to make simple meals like starch, clean water etc
  4. to build improvised shelters
    Then, leading a nomadic NPC group may be a great alternative for faction camps. Unfortunately, I possess no knowledge connected with writing a code etc:/

Duffel bags will hamper their combat skills so be careful with that. I might recommend Zlaves with duffel bags. I don’t remember if NPCs leave them alone or not, but right now I’ve got a feral runner Zlave and it’s wonderful because I never have to worry about going too fast.

I know you said no vehicles, but never discount the humble shopping cart/travois/sled. Couple hundred liters of volume with no encumbrance is pretty nice, especially to keep a mobile stockpile of materials and gear, since carrying your full kit of tools, cookware, and cold jerky is a pain.

Oo using zombie slaves is a lovely idea. Now I have to hunt for a few zombies. I do not want to use vehicles due to the fact that NPCs are not able to drive. In my opinion it is like a cheating when our character is the only human that is able to use cars. It would be great to be a leader of a small cavalary unit or a bikers group. But I know that the idea of NPCs drivers is not doable. At this moment, at least

I did a brief play of a nomad game a few months back, a vegetarian blackbelt travelling on foot. Initially he was going to have a dog, but it kept dying abruptly to traps and things, so I switched him to an NPC companion at the first opportunity. I didn’t get to play him as long as I’d like, but I found a few things about playing nomad that may help.

Storage space is the #1 problem, and you’ll find yourself carefully weighing your options and trying to squeeze a little more space anywhere you can.
Food was not too much trouble, even with the limited storage space and not eating meat. Cornmeal is great, BTW, it requires little space and is very flexible.
A pot helmet is a good way to carry a good cooking tool while saving 2L of space.
It seems like since the sleep deprivation mod went in, NPCs won’t move to a more comfortable sleeping spot anymore, so you may have to push them over to the right squares.
A hydration pack is a good thing to have, but that lamp oil cooker will let you make clean water pretty easy. A few water purification tablets are a good idea too, if you don’t want to spare the time to cook because you’re in a dangerous place or whatever.
The trouble with bringing cows will be that they tend to stop often and refuse to move towards monsters, even not terribly aggressive ones, so you frequently have to go clear out giant mosquitoes or whatever so your cow will follow you again.

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It is very helpful. Thank you. I never use hydration packs, cookers, water purifications because boiling water with a nearby fire is quite fast and I do not need extra items. In case of emergency, NPCs will be dehydrated but they will survive. But I think that I need an oil lamp in order to be able to craft without making fire. I had bad memories connected with monsters that were lured by fire. An oil lamp can be turned off very quickly. Moreover, zombies will provide me with lamp oil due to their fat

I found that keeping your NPCs from dehydration is important, because it rapidly affects their speed, and it’s inconvenient to have to stop and make a fire all the time, and yeah, it does attract monsters to do so. A bonus is that the hydration pack saves a lot of inventory space for other stuff.
Oil lamp cooker is excellent, though.