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TechnoGoth

Private actions in rpgs

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Ever play the star ocean series? No, well it doesn't matter basically in that series whenever you entered a town had the option to choose private action in which case your party would split up and do there own things, it also gave you an opportunity to interact with them, and develop the relationship between the main character and the other characters. So my question is thus, would a more elaborate version of this appeal to players? Here is what I envision. When you arrive at a town you decided how many days you are going to stay there at which point, you dived a share of the money earned since the last town between the characters this becomes their personal savings. The characters can also ask to for items to keep or to take with them into the town. For instance a character might ask to take the ancient book you found to see if they can have it translated. The party then goes there separate ways until the prearranged to departure time. The main character is then free to explore the town as their leisure, they can interact with their party members they encounter but at the same time the other characters have their own lives, personalities. For instance one of party members could be married and spend their off time at home with the wife and kids. Another Character might get drunk and start fights in bars. There would also be story events that can only be seen when the main character is in the right place at the right time. This would also serve as an opportunity for the npcs to improve some of their skills or knowledge. For instance a character may take a few lessons at the local fighting school learning a new attack. There would also be either passive characters or the ability to assign duties to characters, when you visit a settlement. These would be things like a merchant who sells items that have been marked as loot in the party stash. Or a quartermaster who replenishes the parties supply of perishable supplies. There would also be the ability to leave earlier or later then you originally decided. The down time in settlement also affects the party’s attitudes towards you and the other characters as well as their moral. Well, how does this feature sound for an RPG? Would it work well and what can be down to improve it? ----------------------------------------------------- Writer, Programer, Cook, I'm a Jack of all Trades Current Design project Chaos Factor Design Document [edited by - TechnoGoth on March 20, 2004 8:40:53 AM]

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I like the last point:

"The down time in settlement also affects the party’s attitudes towards you and the other characters as well as their moral. "

Things like that one character want''s to rest a *lot*. Another might want to get moving as soon as he''s healed up so he an avenge his brother''s death. A third is just restless and doesn''t like to stay in one place more than one night.
A fourth might want to take every chance to study, for as long as possible.
I guess you as the main characterr would be the leader. Some characters might come to him saying that they must leave now, since he just recieved word his village has been raided.

It''d also be interesting to have a lousy gambler in your party, who always loses his own share of the loot, and might put the entire party in debt if not watched closely.

The problems I can think of is that it might get frustrating when party members get into trouble with the law or something without the player being able to do anything against it. Or perhaps even worse: The party member got drunk, was robbed and killed in a dark alley. The magic sword and blessed shield he was given by the party was stolen.
There''s is also a risk of Quest Overload if four npc''s each take a hurrying quest...

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I like private actions, but the ones that are completely implicit in their workings.

For example, in Legend Of Legaia Duel Saga, you would just happen to find the other characters standing around or running back and forth in town. It was a good time to get some plot info on the character, and learn their personalities.

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Guessed wrong,I''ve played SO ,anyway,private action was quite cool option,in reality I used it a lot in order to see how characters developed in the ending,trying to make couples with different chars each time etc.(Even though that wasn''t the only way that triggered their emotion system)
How you think of this more elaborate version is quite fun,but not all players would really think good of it,thinking of two friends of mine who just wanted to finish the game and never chose to enter town as private action.So,I think this version of private action would be more time consuming,even though it would be funny it might just be worthless for a number of players,in the end you just have to make a survey(smthing like this one )
and see if it can work out or not.I personally like it.

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quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
So my question is thus, would a more elaborate version of this appeal to players?


I love the idea. But, of course, I''m biased because I want to do something very similar. In my design you have to give the crew of people who are manning your starship shoreleave from time to time. This lets them go into town and get into all sorts of adventures. This also means that the player has to balance the stress the crew is under with the available nearby ports, and each type of port offers different benefits and drawbacks in terms of leave. A pirate hellhole may get your less hardy NPCs killed, but may allow your more shady characters to score items and contacts otherwise impossible elsewhere; a repressive, fanatical port may get your more vocal, rebellious NPCs arrested or even sentenced to death for heresy, but may allow your religious NPCs to recharge and get faction-based aid.

quote:

Here is what I envision. When you arrive at a town you decided how many days you are going to stay there at which point, you dived a share of the money earned since the last town between the characters this becomes their personal savings.



Maybe there should be some effective strategy or result for being stingy versus generous? And do you have to divide things evenly?

quote:

The characters can also ask to for items to keep or to take with them into the town. For instance a character might ask to take the ancient book you found to see if they can have it translated.



I like, but there needs to be a tradeoff, such as whatever happens should you say no.

This also hints at a deeper gameplay mechanic: There must be situations where there is more advantage to a character doing something without you, otherwise this is just a management convenience. In your example, maybe the clerics who translate ancient tomes won''t admit your party, just your member who''s a cleric. Or maybe a thief won''t let you be with him when he goes along the secret route to the thieves guild.

quote:

The party then goes there separate ways until the prearranged to departure time.



Would there be any possibility that they could be delayed or not show? Might you have to break them out of jail?

quote:

The main character is then free to explore the town as their leisure, they can interact with their party members they encounter but at the same time the other characters have their own lives, personalities. For instance one of party members could be married and spend their off time at home with the wife and kids. Another Character might get drunk and start fights in bars.


Yes, I''d really like to see this, because what an NPC does and where they are hints at their soul. If you find a seemingly pious NPC always somewhere near cathouses preaching against sin, you know he''s a man of his word. However, if you always find him in the cathouse, you might begin to wonder.

quote:

There would also be story events that can only be seen when the main character is in the right place at the right time.


Cool because this gives them incentive to allow NPCs to depart.

quote:

This would also serve as an opportunity for the npcs to improve some of their skills or knowledge. For instance a character may take a few lessons at the local fighting school learning a new attack.


I really like the idea that the NPCs might be motivated to improve themselves. This makes them more into people and less into children I have to babysit. Of course, you''ve got to balance this with a few things: Some players might take a free-ride approach and never improve their NPCs; others may be disappointed that they don''t get to do enough character development; and still others may feel frustrated if the character doesn''t improve himself / herself enough.

All of these, though, could be alleviated by doing something to communicate these possibilities to players upfront. If NPCs have a lazy personality aspect, for instance, you take them KNOWING that they won''t improve themselves as much.

quote:

There would also be either passive characters or the ability to assign duties to characters, when you visit a settlement.



This is totally academic, but should the money you give them to accomplish tasks come out of their own budget, or a mission / task budget? Maybe they do the work first, spending only what''s leftover on themselves? And maybe they get some sort of bonus for every coin they spend on themselves? That way, if you give them too little, they do your work but don''t get any bonus for being split off.

The same goes for time. If you assign them so many tasks that they can''t hang out with friends and family, what happens? In my model, there''s morale, and if you assign too many shoreleave tasks, you get the work done but the NPC still ends up needing shoreleave.

quote:

These would be things like a merchant who sells items that have been marked as loot in the party stash. Or a quartermaster who replenishes the parties supply of perishable supplies.


I love this for management efficiency. How about this, as well: You can either only do this in towns you''ve visited, thus giving players a reason to explore a new town, or there might be some risk to letting NPCs go off by themselves (anything from spending alot of time getting lost to stumbling into events that you didn''t know were there, such as a riot near city hall).

quote:

There would also be the ability to leave earlier or later then you originally decided.


I like having to round up my party based on what I know about them. If we''ve got to boogey and I know a character is a drunkard, I might have to round him up from the tavern AND sober him up! This should be okay because I''M the one pushing up the schedule.

quote:

The down time in settlement also affects the party’s attitudes towards you and the other characters as well as their moral.



I like this, especially the possible tradeoff that if you give them too much to do OR too much that''s not in line with their purpose / personality, their attitude will be affected. If you give a player lots of tasks related to their purpose, such as tasking a mage who loves knowledge to translate an ancient book, splitting up will be the same as giving them a break.

quote:

Well, how does this feature sound for an RPG? Would it work well and what can be down to improve it?


Do you want to build a tradeoff for both behaviors (splitting up or no) that gives different results, or do you want to make it vital that the player does so.

Personally, I like both the idea of different towns with different results possible when the player splits the part AND the idea that it''s optional to never do it. The tradeoff I like is that giving them a break impacts time sensitive quests (if any) and opens them to getting into trouble in town, while sparing you some management, allowing them to do things you couldn''t do together, and recharging them for more later via morale. The tradeoff I have to this is that you have to spend more on morale charging actions and items if you never do this, and these items relate to the NPC''s personality. So you can give an NPC time to visit the library, or you can buy a library for your ship, both of which lead to strategic tradeoffs.



--------------------
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quote:
Original post by Kekko
Things like that one character want''s to rest a *lot*. Another might want to get moving as soon as he''s healed up so he an avenge his brother''s death. A third is just restless and doesn''t like to stay in one place more than one night.
A fourth might want to take every chance to study, for as long as possible.



This would be very cool so long as you have a number of options you can pursue given that the NPCs are different. If you have Mr. Hyperactive versus Mr. Lazy, you want to keep them both happy. So what can you do? Maybe you can give Mr. Hyperactive jobs to do to keep him busy. Or maybe you can offer incentives to get Mr. Lazy interested in getting up and going.

There has to be something the player can do other than just be stuck with it, otherwise they''ll try to only match the same personality types for simplicity''s sake.


quote:

I guess you as the main characterr would be the leader. Some characters might come to him saying that they must leave now, since he just recieved word his village has been raided.


I like this as well, because it means that there are things going on in the world at large, and NPCs that have lives. it implies that the NPC could go off without you or that if you left immediately, you''d have to go help the village.

If the NPC leaves, however, you''d need a hiring hall in enough towns to replace them. This could get annoying if you depend on the NPC and can''t find a replacement, or if there''s a large distance between hiring halls and where you are.

You also again should have some way of dealing with the NPC to keep them in the party, such as maybe spending money at a local fighters guild to send mercenaries rather than the NPC. This could, perhaps, molify the NPC while at the same time raising their opinion of you. You wouldn''t necessarily have to show this happening, but change the town to reflect whether or not help was sent.

quote:

It''d also be interesting to have a lousy gambler in your party, who always loses his own share of the loot, and might put the entire party in debt if not watched closely.


What about a gambler that got himself into so much debt you get a message that a kingpin''s going to kill him if you don''t pay up. This leads to either a rescue, negotiation or compromise situation. And if you ditch the NPC, what should the effect be on the social fabric of the rest of the party?

quote:

The problems I can think of is that it might get frustrating when party members get into trouble with the law or something without the player being able to do anything against it. Or perhaps even worse: The party member got drunk, was robbed and killed in a dark alley.



Maybe you can assign them to stay together? Or choose to give one a break but not another? I think if you let the player know it''s a possibility (by having different ratings and facts about different towns) and have different skill / personality levels that go with the towns, the player can make an informed risk. Then it won''t be annoying, it''ll be a bad call the player made.

quote:

The magic sword and blessed shield he was given by the party was stolen.


Getting it back may certainly be interesting, though, too, if there is automatically an information network leading you to its location. Let''s say it''s the thieves guild: Maybe you have to end up buying or stealing or intimidating to get your stuff back.

quote:

There''s is also a risk of Quest Overload if four npc''s each take a hurrying quest...


This could be a big problem, I agree. Many RPGs train us to think only in terms of quests, and encourage us to think of our NPCs as appendages to our own character''s body. You''ll have to provide important and different gameplay to break this mold.



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Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by Wavinator
quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
Here is what I envision. When you arrive at a town you decided how many days you are going to stay there at which point, you dived a share of the money earned since the last town between the characters this becomes their personal savings.



Maybe there should be some effective strategy or result for being stingy versus generous? And do you have to divide things evenly?



Thats a good point, npcs would react diffrently to the amount they recieve based on their opinion of the player adjusted by personality traits. Underpay them and they would feel cheated overpay them and they would consider you generous either way there opinion of you would alter. What would be the best way to handle this let the play choose the percentage to give the npcs? that sounds like to much micromangement, perhaps a simple 5 button scale, stingy, poor, fair, well, generous. Then a forumla would divided the aquired funds based on that. The advantages of giving your npc a lower share is that you have more income to spend on your party and self.

As far divide evenly that a good point, I had intended to have funds aquired divided evenly, but perhaps I could incorperate a ranking system into the game. The play could award title and ranks to the npcs as they see fit. Titles and ranks would effect what their share of the loots is. Actully this could work, jobs with in the band such as quartermaster, and merchant could be titles the player assigns to the npcs they feel most qualified. As for ranks they could apply increase to the npcs opinion of the player as well as a bonus to stats and skills. I think their would probably have to be a minum requriements met before the character can be given a title or rank increase, such as merchantile skill in order become the bands offical merchant.

quote:

quote:

The characters can also ask to for items to keep or to take with them into the town. For instance a character might ask to take the ancient book you found to see if they can have it translated.



I like, but there needs to be a tradeoff, such as whatever happens should you say no.

This also hints at a deeper gameplay mechanic: There must be situations where there is more advantage to a character doing something without you, otherwise this is just a management convenience. In your example, maybe the clerics who translate ancient tomes won''t admit your party, just your member who''s a cleric. Or maybe a thief won''t let you be with him when he goes along the secret route to the thieves guild.



That is the sort of thing I had in mind. Npcs may have skills and resources that the player doesn''t as such giving they may have knowledege or suspicions of unsual items that the player does not. The player character can''t translate the book, but an npc in your party grew up with the son of a famous linqust so they would probably be able to get the book translate, or the npc may be a skilled linqust themselves and simply need access to a library and several days to translate the book, which is something they could hardly to on the road.

I was also thinking of including the fact that some npc can''t be trusted and so you give the jade orb you found to one of your npcs because they say they have contacts that will help uncover the orbs orgins, only to discover that when its time to depart the npc has vanished along with the orb.


quote:

quote:

The party then goes there separate ways until the prearranged to departure time.



Would there be any possibility that they could be delayed or not show? Might you have to break them out of jail?



Yes, depending on events that occur while in town some npc may run into trouble or be delayed. For instance a thief may have be caught and arrested or a drunk could still be at the bar singing songs. The player would have to make a decisious on what do. They could attempt to free the thief, or fetch the drunk, then again the player could decided that neither is worth the trouble and simply depart or they could send word that those npcs services are no longer required.

quote:

quote:

This would also serve as an opportunity for the npcs to improve some of their skills or knowledge. For instance a character may take a few lessons at the local fighting school learning a new attack.


I really like the idea that the NPCs might be motivated to improve themselves. This makes them more into people and less into children I have to babysit. Of course, you''ve got to balance this with a few things: Some players might take a free-ride approach and never improve their NPCs; others may be disappointed that they don''t get to do enough character development; and still others may feel frustrated if the character doesn''t improve himself / herself enough.

All of these, though, could be alleviated by doing something to communicate these possibilities to players upfront. If NPCs have a lazy personality aspect, for instance, you take them KNOWING that they won''t improve themselves as much.


Well insome way it will be balanced since the npcs personal savings goes towards things like this. So if they don''t have the money to train they won''t. As well the npcs occupation and personality traits will determine wether they train or not.

quote:

quote:

There would also be either passive characters or the ability to assign duties to characters, when you visit a settlement.



This is totally academic, but should the money you give them to accomplish tasks come out of their own budget, or a mission / task budget? Maybe they do the work first, spending only what''s leftover on themselves? And maybe they get some sort of bonus for every coin they spend on themselves? That way, if you give them too little, they do your work but don''t get any bonus for being split off.



I haven''t decided yet, either a the player will provided them a sum of money to spend or they will have access to the bands funds in which case you would be shown a bill and manfiest showing what they purchased and for how much upon departing the settlement. As for a bonus I was thinking that based on the npcs opinion and personality they would apply a markup to the purcheses.

quote:

quote:

These would be things like a merchant who sells items that have been marked as loot in the party stash. Or a quartermaster who replenishes the parties supply of perishable supplies.


I love this for management efficiency. How about this, as well: You can either only do this in towns you''ve visited, thus giving players a reason to explore a new town, or there might be some risk to letting NPCs go off by themselves (anything from spending alot of time getting lost to stumbling into events that you didn''t know were there, such as a riot near city hall).



That could be interesting with towns have diffrent laws and customs and if the npc/player not know about these, it could lead to problems. Such as the the quartermaster trying to purchase some goods that are contraband in that settlement and ending up arrested.

quote:

quote:

Well, how does this feature sound for an RPG? Would it work well and what can be down to improve it?


Do you want to build a tradeoff for both behaviors (splitting up or no) that gives different results, or do you want to make it vital that the player does so.

Personally, I like both the idea of different towns with different results possible when the player splits the part AND the idea that it''s optional to never do it. The tradeoff I like is that giving them a break impacts time sensitive quests (if any) and opens them to getting into trouble in town, while sparing you some management, allowing them to do things you couldn''t do together, and recharging them for more later via morale. The tradeoff I have to this is that you have to spend more on morale charging actions and items if you never do this, and these items relate to the NPC''s personality. So you can give an NPC time to visit the library, or you can buy a library for your ship, both of which lead to strategic tradeoffs.



Well, I could see allowing the player to choose, the npcs of course would want time off, however if the player is in a rush and just stopping at the settlement then they should have the choice not to split up.

-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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quote:
That could be interesting with towns have diffrent laws and customs and if the npc/player not know about these, it could lead to problems. Such as the the quartermaster trying to purchase some goods that are contraband in that settlement and ending up arrested.

This could be another pitfall for communication. If you talk to an NPC in Village 1 and he explains that magical weapons are banned in Village 2, and then your party regroups and walks over to Village 2, should your Quartermaster have learned about the law from your main character over the course of the trip, or should you, the player, be responsible for editting his grocery list manually before cutting him loose?

I''d like to see a little window pop up when you go into town that tells you what you know about it. Laws, important residents, special events, and maybe a little notepad feature so you can remind yourself that this town has really cheap heal potions.

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quote:
Original post by Wavinator
quote:
Original post by Kekko
Things like that one character want''s to rest a *lot*. Another might want to get moving as soon as he''s healed up so he an avenge his brother''s death. A third is just restless and doesn''t like to stay in one place more than one night.
A fourth might want to take every chance to study, for as long as possible.



This would be very cool so long as you have a number of options you can pursue given that the NPCs are different. If you have Mr. Hyperactive versus Mr. Lazy, you want to keep them both happy. So what can you do? Maybe you can give Mr. Hyperactive jobs to do to keep him busy. Or maybe you can offer incentives to get Mr. Lazy interested in getting up and going.

There has to be something the player can do other than just be stuck with it, otherwise they''ll try to only match the same personality types for simplicity''s sake.



You could expect mr hyperactive to be busy and want to keep busy so if you known he wants to get going as soon as hes able then the player could provide them duties to perform while in the settlement so that they don''t get bored. This could be rather amusing actully I could add a wanderlust personality trait so that if you have a very active npc who also has wanderlust who you decied not to give any duties to while you spend a month in a settlement you could wake up one morning with note under your door saying that they got bored and decided leave.

I''ll also have to include ways of getting mr lazy motivated enough to do something.

quote:

quote:

I guess you as the main characterr would be the leader. Some characters might come to him saying that they must leave now, since he just recieved word his village has been raided.


I like this as well, because it means that there are things going on in the world at large, and NPCs that have lives. it implies that the NPC could go off without you or that if you left immediately, you''d have to go help the village.

If the NPC leaves, however, you''d need a hiring hall in enough towns to replace them. This could get annoying if you depend on the NPC and can''t find a replacement, or if there''s a large distance between hiring halls and where you are.

You also again should have some way of dealing with the NPC to keep them in the party, such as maybe spending money at a local fighters guild to send mercenaries rather than the NPC. This could, perhaps, molify the NPC while at the same time raising their opinion of you. You wouldn''t necessarily have to show this happening, but change the town to reflect whether or not help was sent.



Yes I also like this by having an active changing world it means that npcs sometimes have otherthings that they have to deal with. Also the players reaction to the npcs needs could have a major impact on npc player relations. Such as the case with the loyal npcs home under attack the npcs could approach player asking that they take the band and immeditely head out to save the village. The players refusal could permently damage thei relationship with the npc, the npc may even depart or permently.

As to hiring halls I wasn''t planning on having any. Instead each recruitable npc would be a uniquie character in the game, with thier own personality and past. The player has to treat them as such the death of an npc means the character is gone forever. There will be numerous npcs available in the game the ones the player will be able to meet and recruit will depend on the way the world develops, and players actions. It won''t be possible to recurit them all in a single game however. Also this means that a player who mistreats and is careless with their npcs could face the very real possiblity of being very much alone by the end of the game.


quote:

quote:

It''d also be interesting to have a lousy gambler in your party, who always loses his own share of the loot, and might put the entire party in debt if not watched closely.


What about a gambler that got himself into so much debt you get a message that a kingpin''s going to kill him if you don''t pay up. This leads to either a rescue, negotiation or compromise situation. And if you ditch the NPC, what should the effect be on the social fabric of the rest of the party?



I do like the idea of the gambler esspically how it relates to down time spent in settlements. What about if the gambler is also a cheat? And the player knows that if they stay to long in one place and give the gambler to much free time they could find themselves in real trouble. Ditching a npc when their in a pinch will effect the party based on their opinions of the npcs, some may be happy that you finally got ridden of them while others would become untrustful of you since you have already abadoned one party member who''s to say they won''t be next. A similar thing happens on the battle field npcs can be captured and the players response to this will effect the rest of the party.

quote:

quote:

The problems I can think of is that it might get frustrating when party members get into trouble with the law or something without the player being able to do anything against it. Or perhaps even worse: The party member got drunk, was robbed and killed in a dark alley.



Maybe you can assign them to stay together? Or choose to give one a break but not another? I think if you let the player know it''s a possibility (by having different ratings and facts about different towns) and have different skill / personality levels that go with the towns, the player can make an informed risk. Then it won''t be annoying, it''ll be a bad call the player made.



Chaperon thats sounds like it could be a duty to me. It could even have an effect on the npcs chaperoning the other one. You send your young impressinonable country bumpkin cleric to keep an eye on your shady carousing drunkard npc, only to discover upon leaving the settlement the the drunk has been a bad influence on the cleric, because of which the cleric has given up the order, now supports a new tattoo and a drinking problem.

quote:

quote:

There''s is also a risk of Quest Overload if four npc''s each take a hurrying quest...


This could be a big problem, I agree. Many RPGs train us to think only in terms of quests, and encourage us to think of our NPCs as appendages to our own character''s body. You''ll have to provide important and different gameplay to break this mold.



I''ve decided not to think in quests but events. So if 4 similutanious hurrying events occur... well the player may have to choose between them. Do you save the village under attack or do you follow up a recent lead to Moris''s lost son, or do you let the two depart and carry on with your own plans?





--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...




-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
quote:
That could be interesting with towns have diffrent laws and customs and if the npc/player not know about these, it could lead to problems. Such as the the quartermaster trying to purchase some goods that are contraband in that settlement and ending up arrested.

This could be another pitfall for communication. If you talk to an NPC in Village 1 and he explains that magical weapons are banned in Village 2, and then your party regroups and walks over to Village 2, should your Quartermaster have learned about the law from your main character over the course of the trip, or should you, the player, be responsible for editting his grocery list manually before cutting him loose?

I''d like to see a little window pop up when you go into town that tells you what you know about it. Laws, important residents, special events, and maybe a little notepad feature so you can remind yourself that this town has really cheap heal potions.


I really like this idea. It such a simple and yet powerful tool. It tells the player what they know about the village based on information gathered from the pary, texts, and other npcs. As well as allows them add anything else they feel is relevent.

I find in game notepad features are something sorely lacking in many games.

-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
The play could award title and ranks to the npcs as they see fit. Titles and ranks would effect what their share of the loots is. Actully this could work, jobs with in the band such as quartermaster, and merchant could be titles the player assigns to the npcs they feel most qualified.



Could you also demote them? And might a promotion or demotion change their character to any signficant degree? Maybe you promote the drunkard character, and this influences his behavior to start shaping up?

There''s a whole untapped universe of non-prescripted character growth waiting in the wings with this concept, which is why I love it so much.

quote:

The player character can''t translate the book, but an npc in your party grew up with the son of a famous linqust so they would probably be able to get the book translate, or the npc may be a skilled linqust themselves and simply need access to a library and several days to translate the book, which is something they could hardly to on the road.


This makes logical sense as well, as you normally don''t reveal your contacts for fear of being cut out of the middle.

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I was also thinking of including the fact that some npc can''t be trusted and so you give the jade orb you found to one of your npcs because they say they have contacts that will help uncover the orbs orgins, only to discover that when its time to depart the npc has vanished along with the orb.


Here you have to be careful. Loss is interesting only if you had clear warning and a clear strategic tradeoff, or if you have no warning but there is always a way of recovering. Any player who gives an invaluable item to an NPC they''ve just met is working off of old RPG stereotypes. So you''ll need to (gently) break them of this habit.

What if you had an information network where you could negotiate, cajole, threaten or bribe people into giving you the location or probable location of any NPC in the game world? Then you''d be able to let the NPC steal an item and have the player on a vengeful rampage after them (rather than being impotent and fairly whining about how the game is unfair).


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Yes, depending on events that occur while in town some npc may run into trouble or be delayed. For instance a thief may have be caught and arrested or a drunk could still be at the bar singing songs. The player would have to make a decisious on what do. They could attempt to free the thief, or fetch the drunk, then again the player could decided that neither is worth the trouble and simply depart or they could send word that those npcs services are no longer required.


The nice thing about this is that it again reveals character, and gives you some strategic tradeoffs in your party. Maybe you''ll want to make it so that the more eccentric characters are the more powerful or have the most potential. This would more sharply focus the personality aspects.



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Just waiting for the mothership...

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Original post by TechnoGoth
Yes I also like this by having an active changing world it means that npcs sometimes have otherthings that they have to deal with. Also the players reaction to the npcs needs could have a major impact on npc player relations. Such as the case with the loyal npcs home under attack the npcs could approach player asking that they take the band and immeditely head out to save the village. The players refusal could permently damage thei relationship with the npc, the npc may even depart or permently.


At the risk of complicating things, you may not want to make this a hard and fast rule (help or relations will be permanently damaged). You may want to consider some subtle factors, such as how important the NPC''s individual quest is versus the player''s quest as a whole. There''s too much complexity in determining WHY the player refused the NPC. Did they do it because they''re greedy? Did they do it because the NPC was needed to prevent more lives from being lost?

If you make this a hard and fast rule, I can see players thinking, "well screw you, jerk, I''m trying to save the whole continent right now, not just your damn town!"

You need some sort of a negotiation scheme if you want this level of veracity in the relationships between the player and NPC. Promising them something, or giving them something in exchange (like sending mercs), or even altering things so that the chance of such an interruption is minimal (like getting the king to garrison the town in advance) would be options that don''t just leave the player stuck with a binary choice-- either comply, or have a well developed relationship harmed.

(This situation reminds me, btw, of Episode II, where Obi Wan has to convince Skywalker to stay on mission and ignore the loss of Padme. He does this by asking Skywalker, "What would she do if things were reversed?" "She''d do her duty," Skywalker admits, then carries on.)

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As to hiring halls I wasn''t planning on having any. Instead each recruitable npc would be a uniquie character in the game, with thier own personality and past. The player has to treat them as such the death of an npc means the character is gone forever. There will be numerous npcs available in the game the ones the player will be able to meet and recruit will depend on the way the world develops, and players actions.



I see this as working just as well, but making the NPCs much more of a precious commodity. Have you considered repopulating the world after NPC loss, though? As a natural point of veracity, if you scoop up many of the characters in an area you''ll have either a vacuum that the game must fill, or unnatural ghost towns.
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I do like the idea of the gambler esspically how it relates to down time spent in settlements. What about if the gambler is also a cheat? And the player knows that if they stay to long in one place and give the gambler to much free time they could find themselves in real trouble. Ditching a npc when their in a pinch will effect the party based on their opinions of the npcs, some may be happy that you finally got ridden of them while others would become untrustful of you since you have already abadoned one party member who''s to say they won''t be next. A similar thing happens on the battle field npcs can be captured and the players response to this will effect the rest of the party.


Again, great for character growth. Would there be a way to make up for this, though? Let''s say you''re very injured, and you retreat, leaving a man on the field to be captured by orcs. Now if it just happens that their opinion goes down, then you have a game where losing an NPC may be equivalent to permanent loss.

But what if you could later mount a rescue of the NPC? This suggests that rather than a flag that gets tripped, the attitude of an NPC at the time of loss of a comrade is a state rather that a switch. As a state, it can have all sorts of negative effects (and even positive ones), but it''s not permanent. Only when too much time passes or rescue become impossible (the captured character has been hung) does the state become permanent.

This raises a larger issue, though: What incentive do players have to keep an imperfect party. I know you said that they can''t just hire everybody, but I imagine that it will take awhile to deplete the stock of available NPCs. If you have a party that hates you for leaving someone behind, what stops you from just getting a new party? It has to be worth it to continue even though relationships are bad.

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Chaperon thats sounds like it could be a duty to me. It could even have an effect on the npcs chaperoning the other one.



Again, great for character development, especially if the player can get an inkling that this might happen beforehand. (I say this because the changes for which the players have no control should not be their responsibility, and should therefore be a cutscene or clearly prescripted event).

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I''ve decided not to think in quests but events. So if 4 similutanious hurrying events occur... well the player may have to choose between them. Do you save the village under attack or do you follow up a recent lead to Moris''s lost son, or do you let the two depart and carry on with your own plans?


I like events alot better than prescripted quests as well, especially when they integrate fully into the game world.





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