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TechnoGoth

Religion and Codes of Conduct in a game world?

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Could players be brought to behave and act in a game based on a set of religious teachings or code of conduct in that world? If the game had say two major religions and various organizations or kinds of people that each had their own code of conduct that the player would be expected to follow if they belonged to one, would they? and what are the consequences if they don''t? The obvious system to manage this would be with through the use penalties and rewards, along with perhaps a corresponding stat. An example of such a system would if the player decided to become something like a samurai; they would have to obey similar code of conduct to the bushido. With that you could have stat called honour, honour would be hard to gain but easy to lose. The players actions that follow the way of the samurai would cause them gain small amounts of honour while those that violate it would cause a significant lose to honour, that actual amount depending on the action. Again in this case the character’s honour value could have an effect on various in game actives. Such as npc reactions, job offers and requests for aid. As well there is the idea that a set of skills or combat techniques could be related to the character’s honour. Either you have to obtain sufficient honour to be taught them, or you have to sufficient honour to use them. The latter although would be more appropriate for say a monk and spirituality. But with religion things get a little more complex. What are the rewards for following your chosen religious customs or breaking them? One idea I had was that if the player was a member of the northern religion “The Sons of the All Farther” there are certain religious rules that deal with combat. Such as you can’t steal the weapons and armour from the dead. Also if you kill a fellow Son of the All Farther in combat you can perform a family legacy task, and return their weapon to their family. If you do so it is considered atonement for the death and ends any blood vengeance the family has sworn against you for the death of their family member. But that is only one religious custom, how would go about encouraging the player to follow the religious customs they have adopted? Bare in mind it is the player’s choice to become a member of that religion. ----------------------------------------------------- "Fate and Destiny only give you the opportunity the rest you have to do on your own." Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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Offer bonuses of a certain type if a player acts within a set of Rules of Conduct.
Theorizing an eastern-style Warrior-Monk 'Religion':
-If the player does not use weapons, he gains bonuses to his speed and defense.
-If the player does not wear armor, he gains bonuses to his damage and attack rate.
-If the player does not strike first, he gains an amount of 'natural armor' during combat.
-If the player does acts honorably amongst NPCs, it decreases costs at stores and gives larger rewards for quests.

Contrasted with a Berzerker Religion:
-If the player does not disengage from combat once begun, he gains extra attack speed and damage.
-If the player does not use healing items during combat, he gains extra health and armor bonuses.
-If the player fights two-handed, he gains accuracy and attack damage.
-If the player takes pride in his strength, he gains more experience and NPCs are more likely to give him extra quests.

These being, overall, traits that must be adhered to by the player. They can't simply decide that one combat they want to stand by them, the next they don't. The longer they adhere to these rules, the stronger the bonuses, however once they've begun down a religious path, it becomes harder and harder to leave it. If they have spend 5 hours training in the ways of the Warrior-Monks and following their traditions, then suddenly decide to act like a Berzerker, they'll suffer disadvantages while they are 'converted'.

I should note, as a post-script, that the final examples in both of those Religions should generally pertain to conversation-options.

- It's a life's work

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[edited by - Run_The_Shadows on May 18, 2004 8:16:37 PM]

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In some game systems, there are bonuses and penalties administered by the deity of the player''s religion.. like the suggestions given.

Example, you are playing a Monk of some lawful god, and you commit an unlawful act, maybe the god will notice and be displeased, and send some of disaster on the character to cope with. Maybe fellow church members witness the act, and the church might want to test the PC and send them on a quest to atone for their sins etc etc.

Or maybe the character does something in character and pleases the deity, so it bestows some sort of blessing on them.

The worst case is that the player continually displeases the deity/church and is excommunicated as a heretic and possibly the church will try to kill them, or the god will send hordes of minions to destroy it.


Etc etc. Religion is a social thing, but in fantasy games, also directly connected to the worship of some sort of being that is supposedly alive and active in the world. Well, really, even real relisions have this belief too :-)


Now, for evil religions, it''s mostly about doing evil without having the law catch you or some crazed Paladin sent to destroy you. Evil does not necessarily mean you are playing a psychotic that kills everything in sight. Some evil can be at work in society, but with secret ambitions to achieve some goal etc.

Peace

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You should take a look at some of the earlier Ultima games. They are very philosophical and encourage ethical behavior from the player.

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quote:

These being, overall, traits that must be adhered to by the player. They can''t simply decide that one combat they want to stand by them, the next they don''t. The longer they adhere to these rules, the stronger the bonuses, however once they''ve begun down a religious path, it becomes harder and harder to leave it. If they have spend 5 hours training in the ways of the Warrior-Monks and following their traditions, then suddenly decide to act like a Berzerker, they''ll suffer disadvantages while they are ''converted''.



Your example seems more like your substituting classes for religions, your examples also focous too much on combat, they don''t make much sense in terms of religion if anything they would be part of a fighting style.

The point of religion is to encourage certain kinds of behaviour. If anything it would be harder to stay on the religous path then it is to venture off of it. After all if a religous forbids killing and the player spent a lift time adhering to that religious docterine following building up their spirtuality then one day in a fit of rage they kill and enemy, then would destroy a life time of religous adherense.

quote:

Example, you are playing a Monk of some lawful god, and you commit an unlawful act, maybe the god will notice and be displeased, and send some of disaster on the character to cope with. Maybe fellow church members witness the act, and the church might want to test the PC and send them on a quest to atone for their sins etc etc.

Or maybe the character does something in character and pleases the deity, so it bestows some sort of blessing on them.

The worst case is that the player continually displeases the deity/church and is excommunicated as a heretic and possibly the church will try to kill them, or the god will send hordes of minions to destroy it.


Etc etc. Religion is a social thing, but in fantasy games, also directly connected to the worship of some sort of being that is supposedly alive and active in the world. Well, really, even real relisions have this belief too :-)




I want to avoid the whole concept of dieties as well as the idea that various religions are good and evil. Instead the religons each have their own doctrines and core of belifs. Again I dislike the idea of applying blessings or curses to the player, for breaking religous rules, since it is the player choice to follow that religion and its rules.

-----------------------------------------------------
"Fate and Destiny only give you the opportunity the rest you have to do on your own."
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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With out some kind of reinforcement, whether positive or negative, you cannot possibly hope to control a player's actions in-game.

I focused on combat because between that and conversation, little else is dynamic enough in an RPG world(assuming this gametype that conforms best to this sort of thing) to use as a basis for a 'religion' system.

- It's a life's work

40% Off ALL Hosting Plans
-ryan@lecherousjester.com

[edited by - Run_The_Shadows on May 19, 2004 2:49:43 AM]

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quote:

I want to avoid the whole concept of dieties as well as the idea that various religions are good and evil. Instead the religons each have their own doctrines and core of belifs. Again I dislike the idea of applying blessings or curses to the player, for breaking religous rules, since it is the player choice to follow that religion and its rules.



Have a basic list of rules (i.e. only kill in self defense, assist others of your order, etc), have list of required activities (go to church on major holidays, do community service 10 hours a year, donate 10% of your money to the church, etc) and have a list of optional activities (become a cleric/priest in the order, help defend pilgrims on their way to some shrine, etc)

Rules must be followed. Breaking them requires major act considered good to stay in good standing with religion or you get excommunicated.
Required activities must be followed but won''t necessarily get you excommunicated, just a very bad reputation among others of the same religion. Maybe they will deny you some basic church services.
Optional activities get you in better standing with the church and try may go out of their way to help you.

That way you stay away from the whole god/dietie thing and the chruches are only as good/evil as the rules.

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You could perhaps have a faith meter. Religious acts will add to the meter, sacrilgious will detract from it. It''ll be individual (behind the curtain) to each religion, but the player will not know. They''ll only have the rules, and a little bar or number labeled "Faith". Then, NPCs in that religion can judge you based on that meter.

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I faith meter is the obvious system that springs to mind although it still beg the question as to what are the benefits for being faithful?

Lets consider faith in real life what does it provide people.
1) sense of well being
2) something to belive in
3) guide to right and wrong
4) sense of safty
5) direction

so if we translate thoughs into game activites what do we get?

1) Raised moral?
3) Sense of justice and duty?
4) Perhaps a chance for divine intervention?

-----------------------------------------------------
"Fate and Destiny only give you the opportunity the rest you have to do on your own."
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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Consider what happens rather when the player is unfaithfull , presumably something bad.

...
If I am a God worthy of worship then I *AM* watching you.

...
Perhaps some ideas can be glened from the god game style of games.. populus and so on.. Why do the gods desire worshipers?.. to increase their power or some such for instance.

...
Anyway a few coppers..


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Religious NPCs should offer discounts and such to other members of their religion. If the PC is in good standing with his religion he can go to certain shops to get discounts.

Also, as more people join a certain religion, the activities/quests that that religion wants to be performed will get performed more (because there are more people to do it), and so that religion''s influence will increase.

--------------------------------------
I am the master of stories.....
If only I could just write them down...

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quote:
Original post by Nathaniel Hammen
Religious NPCs should offer discounts and such to other members of their religion. If the PC is in good standing with his religion he can go to certain shops to get discounts.



Why? Maybe if it was a store at the local temple but if it was just an ordinary shop that happened to be owned by someone of the same religion why should they give you a discount?

I think perhaps services are the best approach. Is your religousness improves you are allowed access to more services that the relgion provides.

such as for a buddist style relgion:

Being allowed access to temple libraries.
Able to attend the religions schools or training facilites.
Able to stay in the dormitories in exchange for an hour or two of work.
etc

-----------------------------------------------------
"Fate and Destiny only give you the opportunity the rest you have to do on your own."
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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