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Wavinator

How should the world react to "unbreakable"

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"You've heard of stories of babies falling out of 3 story windows and surviving? Well... that's me... I just can't seem to die..." What should the in-game response be to a character who can take massive damage, but somehow miraculously can't die? I've made the inability to die except by special circumstances a central part of the game I'm working on. Because it's RPG-like, I was wondering about how the NPCs should react to the phenomeon of you always being able to survive. When you jump out of a window, or get blown up, or shot, the design is such that you always wake up in some hospital somewhere. You may find yourself in the hands of enemies, or a primitive frontier camp, but you're always nursed back to health.
How About Death Notoriety? This would be a notoriety / celebrity system. Each time you survive miraculously, the game takes into account witnesses and how you should have died. The more people see, the higher the attention rises. Death Flow The responses depend on how often the incident happens: 1x) Local human interest story -NPCs respond about how amazing it was that you survived, and how lucky / blessed you are. -You merit a minor article in the papers 2x) Local attention -"Amazing" responses mixed with curiosity questions -Lose money to police questioning (you want to get out of the hospital ASAP because it's expensive) -Increased invitations from mercenary groups because you're so lucky -Opportunities to get quick cash by talking to interviewers, reporters 3x) Widespread attention -NPCs show rising touches of fear / awe, altering prices, interactions and opportunities -Police questioning / counseling gets longer -One or two kooks may begin stalking you (may lower reputation, which hurts ability to climb the social ladder & get missions, unless you ditch them) -Several reporters & drones follow (lowers stealth because of attention unless you ditch them) -Truthseekers & zealots may begin showing up to either oppose or ally with you -Unsavory mercs may try to kidnap you & press you into service -You make the headlines, making any stealth / criminal activity extremely hard 4x+) Worldwide public attention -NPCs fear or are in awe or angry with you ("why are you so lucky?!") -Zealots may attack you randomly, depending on the region you're in -Shadowy research corporations begin trying to kidnap you so that they can experiment on you; if successful, you're subjected to stat-loss experiments, but given periodic chances to escape (made more likely if you have followers, btw) -Some small religious factions worship you as messiah, many larger ones condemn you as antichrist / devil / evil
Lowering Death Notoriety You can purchase a new identity, get asylum from the benevolent government ("witness protection program") or use the game's "skip time" feature where you park your character somewhere and fast forward years (but you have a limited number of years per lifetime). You can also choose not to lower notoriety, and instead build a religious faction of followers. However, the higher your death notoriety, the more likely you'll attract attention from nemesis characters who can kill you, sending you on to the next lifetime-- which may be decades or centuries away.

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Your story idea is absolutely amazing. You've designed what I can almost say is the ultimate game right here. You've taken all the senses. The adreneline, the wit, the jelous feelings. This game will be addicting. Not only (from what I can tell) do you have the fast pace combat of a first person shooter, you have the wit of trade, and with stealth, the quality to think about your next move. basically there's a part of the game everyone can truely enjoy. You have the amazing system right there. But you going a little too fast, and definately not far enough. You shouldn't just stop at level 4, you should go to amazing levels. Say at level 7, you may be the sworn enemy of governments, and the leader of others.

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Actually, I think you need to take into consideration the cause of death. This situation in which you die may really affect how people see you. Also, the way you "die" will affect how witnesses talk about it.

For example, you you constantly die after saving someone, then people should fear you less. If you die from failing to save someone, you will gain hatred from the family members. If you die in a horrible manner in front of crowds of people, then people will grow to fear you.

Additionally, how would your system treat dismemberment? Say you come back to life through gradual regeneration, then which part of the body will regenerate if you were cut in half?

If dismemberment is taken into consideration, then the system can also use the number of deaths as kind of like a level up criteria. For example, the more often you survive or die from dismemberment, the more resistant you are to it. Say, if you almost always get an arm cut off, then the first few times you might just collapse on the spot, but later on as you get used to it, you should still be able to move around a bit after the injury. I guess what I'm trying to say is not exactly immunity to injury, but more resistant to their side effects on the body while you're still alive.

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Hmm, interesting system.
I'd say maybe tone down #3 and #4 a bit.

No matter what, your character would probably want to try to keep it quiet, right?
And it'd take a pretty big effort to make it becom a widely known phenomenon. If you didn't actually see it happen, then won't you just say "Oh, the guy is just lucky", or "the newspapers are just sensationalists".

You'd have to *really* stir up some fuss if you want it to become widely known.

But instead, it might get noticed by a few people who are particularly interested in this. Of course all the people who believe in UFO abductions and other conspiracy theories would likely gather a huge file on you, trying to correlate info and track you down.

Maybe the military would spot it too, and be very interested in how you do it.
Maybe some religious fanatics too, like you suggested. And of course, a couple of reporters out for a big story too.

My point is just that it wouldn't become something everyone knows about, but just that the higher your "death notoriety", the more often people will succeed in track you down and, well, do whatever they want.

I guess I'd just get annoyed if ordinary NPC's kept talking about me like "that invincible guy". But it'd be cool to be tracked down by some crazy conspiracy theorist, or an FBI agent who wants to lock me up in a secret Government lab for experiments [wink]

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I'm reminded of the first Highlander movie. When he gets that horrific battle wound, and still recovers, he's accused of witchcraft and banished. Depending on where you are, you could get some pretty ruthless responses.

If other "immortals" had passed that way, then there may be myths and superstitions about unkillable men. If your evil nemesis killed the royal family and walked out through a hail of bullets, then your resilience could get you the worst kind of attention. On the other hand, if they have a St. George legend of a warrior doing battle, being defeated, and rising again to save the day, then you could get a lot of respect and admiration by letting your little secret out.

I think you've done pretty well modelling the reaction to the "novelty" of the everman, but I agree that you might want to tone down the responses, or include some kind of big red button for when you're totally exposed. If you've "died" and been restored to health so many times that snipers follow you around shooting you in the heart for practice, and scientists kidnap you for testing every other weekend, then you should be able to ditch the personality and get a new identity.

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I think you've pretty much captured the spread of opinion of NPCs to an unkillable character, although I foresee a hell of a time getting all that implemented (although if you do, please tell us about it, as I'd love to play it!)

One thing I'm not sure about is whether you intend your character to be immortal, in a Planescape Torment kind of way, so you can take an series of axe blows to the neck, bullet wounds to the heart etc. and survive with minor scars. Or whether you just intend your character to be extremely lucky; the bullets always miss, the blows never do any serious damage etc. This case reminds me of some of the war heroes like the Red Baron's younger brother Lothar von Richthofen, who tended to get into straight-on shooting matches with other pilots, crash a few times and spend heaps of time in hospital, but managed to survive the war (unlike his more famous brother). In this case the player can keep on surviving unless he or she tries to push their luck a little too far, and give them some sort of hint that this time they really could die: "One man against a thousand. Damn it, Captain Trapper Zoid, this time it really is suicide. I'm not kidding around here; you will die! Understand?"

If it's the former, and you really are immortal, then the game would be a bit like Planescape Torment, although in that case since everyone else in the game was weird and unique the player character kind of fitted in with all the other freaks and didn't stand out too much (if the rest of your party consists of a floating skull, a succubus and a floating burning man, a regular looking scarred guy who happens to be immortal isn't really going to cause too much of a stir).


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Thinking religiously:

I kind of like the idea that people might start thinking of you as some sort of messiah or demon depending on a balance towards good or evil.

If you have a reputation as the reincarnation of Christ, any immoral action (regardless of its intensity) would hurt your reputation more than it would if you didnt have the Messiah status. Also, any moral high standing choise would be more likely dismissable as "He always does stuff like that, big deal".

Possibly, if you're known as a person who does bad things, yet still lives through accidents, then people start to fear you. Think: the Terminator. Make a moral decision, and its weighted heavy; make an immoral decision, and its no big deal. Maybe if you're uber bad and invincible, people start to assume you're the anti-christ and you're here to raise Hell.

Either way, I think itd be sort of nice if you could get a cult following. If you're famous enough, you're bound to get a fan club and maybe some worshippers. EDIT: Or maybe an army ;)

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IMHO maybe it's a little bit too much attention. It's cool if you incorporate some of that into the game, but players are used to being "lucky" all the time. I mean, if you are the player, and you do all that, there must be something special about you. So if you explain everything as plain luck, it wouldn't hurt the immersion. Or maybe a character just gets killed every time he faces incredible odds, unliky most games and movies, and the player should get used to it. Maybe a mix of both :)

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It'd probably do better to have NPCs be reactive in general, like if I just had a fight on a rooftop, using the typical earth-smashing magic spells, that some of the villagers should have at least a "wow" to make. As for the hero's extreme luck, maybe the occasional screaming fan would make an interesting side-plot, but the NPCs would probably more know the player by name than by face.

In-Game Newspapers are always a good channel for making the player feel better about himself, if thats what we're really after.

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Very interesting. I've read your site, and quite a few of your posts on these forums, and straylight is shaping up as an awesome game, even though you would prolly only be able to play it on a supercomputer. You should make a forum for straylight.

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