My suggested mechanic is to let homesteads/tribes form up to create larger political groups which pvp rules can be set. Those regions could be dynamically created if they are within X distance of each other. The mechanic should also require a upkeep to maintain so that it leads to other mechanics like trade and a reason to trade/craft.
Basically say two tribes are with in this distance they could create a safe zone between them or just set it so politically they control the region and pvp was allowed and another group couldn't claim the area between them.
say another tribe joins but is too far away there wouldn't be anything created between that tribe and this existing group.
later on another tribe joins this lone group and creates a 2nd zone between them now you have two regions that members of the 4 tribes would follow the pvp rule set in the regions.
this mechanic could be tied into the currency system which isnít on the totems at this time but we could require the groups to use the same currency. Additionally it would create a value for what ever currency is used since it now has a purpose.
This suggestion not only helps with the pvp/safe zone argument but it also could allow tribes to form say states and later to form nations. This would give political elements to the game.
The upkeep is the key to prevent the entire world from becoming one big pve/pvp zone, it has to be high enough that you can't expand too much but not so high that it prevents groups of solo players from banding together.
Give the players some tools that allow them to say this region is a safe haven and this region is a war zone but also require some sort of upkeep to prevent abuse