In one of the interactive scenes, a warrior from another clan tells us, “Slights make war, but favors make peace.”
This is a reasonable summary of how relationships between clans work. But things aren’t quite that simple.
Certain acts are considered slights — stains on a clan’s honor. (Raids are annoying, but unless the context decrees otherwise, aren’t considered slights.) If you slight another clan too many times, it will declare a feud, which is essentially a statement that they consider themselves at war with your clan.
The exact number is affected by certain treasures, but usually it takes three slights to push a clan over the edge into feud. Of course, you already have a history with the other clans that emigrated to Dragon Pass, so you might start on the cusp of a feud.
Exactly what offends another clan is not always obvious, so this isn’t shown in the user interface. But your ring often incorporates the number of slights into their advice. Sometimes you can erase a slight, but in general the offended clan will remember them forever.
Note that slighting a clan won’t always result in an immediate feud. Tensions have to simmer to a boil, and they may want to make sure that they’re strong enough to prosecute a feud.
Ending a feud will remove at least some of the slights, depending on just how you managed to resolve it.
As far as favors making peace, the connection is a little less direct. You can be owed any number of favors. No one feels so obligated that they offer a treaty. But a clan that owes you is more likely to go along with what you want — perhaps you subtly remind them that they owe you, or on their own they would rather back you than pay 30 cows. At the same time, a clan that you owe will be less likely to side with you. Who are you to ask for a political favor, when you are already in their debt? Tribal negotiations are just one area that works like this.
When an advisor says, “Her clan will be slighted if we aid her, and obligated to us if we return her to them,” hopefully the meaning is clear. And now you know what it means in game terms.