It seems to me that the amount of quests available is mostly depending on your map. I started a new campaign yesterday, most civillian settlements are close to the coast (in the south) – since south of that there is no land, there is less physical space to spawn camps and missions. I constantly get caravan escorts across the whole map for 600 gold. I rather decline that one and go to the next settlement to see if they have a raider contract that actually gives some gold.
Don’t get me wrong. Caravan quests are great in the (late) midgame to lategame where hardly anything can kill you anymore. However early there are many roaming groups that can simply annihilate your whole team and we don’t have the crowns to get anything from the “well supplied” status as long as the destination produce high value trade goods like salt, gems etc. maybe for cheap tools – but let’s be honest it’s still not worth going across the whole map for and possibly having to abandon the caravan anyways.
I would like to see more contracts that are actually worth doing and don’t require you to go across the whole map.
The main problem is that we don’t know how the game is scaling difficulty and the devs don’t give an answer. You getting 7 raiders at an early stage should not happen in Normal difficulty imo. I expect that on expert and don’t mind losing a guy or two in exchange for some T2-T3 weapons and worn mail shirts.
Also, I think skeleton contracts are ones of the easiest in early game and they sometimes give high-value loot like chalice or ancient coins, gemstones. Keep a few swords, flails etc to deal with them. Use shieldwall if you get surrounded and break their formation with shield bash if one of your guys gets in trouble. Even in lategame, I do not get why people are complaining so much about skeletons. The only time I get into trouble is when they come with ~10 necrosavants and priest. As soon as you have some guys with Greatswords legionaires fall like flies. Also duelists can usually kill them without even destroying their armor since their base HP is laughable. Even Honor guards are not much of a threat when your guys wear Coat of Scales and decent helmets with Battleforged.
Anyways, I do agree the early game is a bit too hard compared to late and midgame. There is almost no difference between a lv1 and a lv3 brother because they will mostly have the same gear while their stats don’t increase that much unless they get +3 melee defense rolls. On the other hand, once you get Underdog, Berserk and Bow Mastery you party gets immensly more powerful but enemies don’t.