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The Emperor's Eidolons / The President's Partials

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The solution to becoming a leader in an RPG is to not become a leader... There seems to be no real good solution to leveling from peasant to leader in RPGs if the position is very administrative (like a king or president) or the society advanced enough to expect leaders to lead from the safety of the rear (no Alexander the Greats). You run into the problem of either the game switching drastically on you, or there not being enough to do (because non-action-oriented gameplay is hard). So what if, when you hit the leader level, you can hang out at HQ and make high level decisions that change the game world and then jump into another character to execute on those decisions? The context I'm thinking of this for is heavily cybernetic, with the ability to partially transfer to cyborg or biotech-enhanced clone bodies. Gameplay would be similar to whatever got you made leader in the first place (like becoming a war hero, or famous explorer). Since you'd have carte blanche on equipping at this point, it seems vital that you'd only be called to go to places where superior equipment either isn't possible or isn't useful. So suicide or touchy / feely diplomatic missions, rooting out conspiracies or exploring into dangerous unknowns. A world where this was normal might be weird. It might expect, for instance, mythical kings and tsars to go at it head to head with hyper-enhanced "eidolons" to solve international disputes. "Partials" of the president might be stored throughout the government, acting as the eyes and ears of the administration and leading from the front by proxy.
To structure this, consider these to be basic rules: -There's some means to verify you're you, like a "soul print" (though for the sake of adventure, maybe this can be forged?) -Eidolons/partials inspire almost as much loyalty as you being there -When you leave your body, it goes into storage/life support/whatever. -Your consciousness can't be active in more than one place -Stat loss occurs when you lose a body (soul/mental, anyway) -You may have vipers in your own palace/HQ who strike while you're downloaded elsewhere -Eidolons/partials might be the only way to stop a huge empire (spanning light years) from breaking up Thoughts?

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My first thought is that I've been at the computer too long, as I'm having trouble understanding exactly what it is that you're wanting to do here. Is this a way so that you can be emperor but still run around with the ground troops?

If you only have one of these cyborg clones, then I don't think it would make a huge amount of gameplay difference. If you have many, I'm not sure how this would be any different gameplay-wise from just having a comms system, or it would get a bit too unmanageable.

Wouldn't it be easier to engineer the whole society so that warrior kings are respected? That way you couldn't be leader without getting your hands a bit dirty.

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There was a trilogy of books by, umm... I can't remember. Terry Brooks, maybe? It was about a magical kingdom that a guy bought out of the yellow pages. A little weird. The point is, he was the king. He lived in a castle, and dated magical girls, and drank good booze, and dealt with stuff. There was a magical warrior, called "The Paladin", that was bound to the kingdom. The king had some kind of medallion or something, and he could summon The Paladin in times of need.

Basically, The Paladin was an avatar of the king, and so when it showed up, the king's consciousness would be transferred into it and he would go kill bad guys and such. It was strange, though, because they really were different people, they just shared a mind. As the Paladin, he didn't see the king and think, "Hey, that's me!" he knew it was the King, and that he was the Paladin. The opposite was also true. The king had all kinds of kingly skills and duties, and the Paladin was an invincible warrior, but the King couldn't fight much, and the Paladin couldn't even hold a pen, or take off his armor. Different people.

However, the population of the kingdom understood that the King and the Paladin were the same entity, and so they would treat them with equal respect.

So, have your Eidolon be some kind of avatar of the Emperor. Nobody confuses the two, but nobody expects them to disagree, either. This way, the Emperor can sit in his palace and jack into a synaptic interface that allows him to lead the spacedrop into enemy territory while he sleeps, or after a big state dinner. Then the Eidolon powers down or blips into hyperspace or whatever while the Emperor drafts a new treaty to end the war with the planet that the Eidolon just stomped into submission.

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WEll, no problem here, you just do a shadow copy of your leader and upload that into the equivalent of Air Force One. Maybe some sort of cool Mech warrior [grin], to lead the troops on the battlefield.

Or you could have an "imperial guard" where all the soldiers are cyborgs whose controlling mind is a clone copy (a shadow) of the leader (or maybe his sons, whichever, somebody devoted to him completely). The reason being that they couldn't be more devoted and willing to sacrifice.

You could have less visible expressions of this. Something similar to "Henri Vth visiting his troops under the cover of darkness", or like the prince trying to duke it out in First Knight under a disguise. Essentially, your leader would have a "plain cloth" bioroid with a shadow copy of him in there.

By "shadow" I assume that there is no possible way to perfectly clone someone's personality in a digital form, except for destructive uploading of one's brain, which would be something frowned upon for a leader (because of all the legal issues). Of course you _could_ have a government with a digital leader, but that's something else.

You could also simply allow your leader to puppeteer an Avatar from a distance. Telepresence isn't really complicated, so this could be extended to controlling a giant combat robot, or a cyborg, a "glorified" version of the leader leading the troops to battle.

Personally, I would go for the "king in disguise amongts his troops" method. Let your president have shadows of him implented in cyborgs that are part of various forces. On command, he could puppeteer such a cyborg, or simply sit back and let the thing do its job.

Really, it's not so much the ideas that are a problem here, but rather the legal /security issues: how do you know it's really your leader you are obeying, and not somebody hacking into Mechwarrior One? (althoug again, that's some good basis for an adventure)

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Another idea, this one from the Iliad:

How about if your psionic/cybernetic/whatever presence on the battlefield could take multiple forms? Often, you'd be totally absent, busy with other matters. Other times, you'd be monitoring satellite feeds personally, and issuing some orders. Still other times, you'd control an actual unit in the battle, probably some incredibly expensive crushinator bot.

In the Iliad, there were times when the gods would participate in battles by imbuing human warriors with divine powers. How about if you have certain units that are susceptible to your control, but also capable of (less awesome) autonomous behavior?

Your troops are dashing across the battlefield, engaging infantry resistance and rushing artillery positions, when suddenly one of the Shogun-class assault mechs gets hit with a stream of data and energy from an orbitting satellite. Its latent systems are engaged and it surges forward, now under your direct control. It would not only provide a terrific unit for the fight, but would probably boost the crap out of your morale right there. I think it should glow. And hum. Maybe play some kickass 70's hero music.

The whole latent systems and bean of energy thing obviously requires some kind of fancy tech that's cost effective to build in, but can't be active all the time. I dunno how that would go over. It might be better just to drop your character Starship Troopers-style into the think of it. It would be like Master Chief showing up in Halo.

[Edited by - Iron Chef Carnage on September 5, 2005 9:56:09 PM]

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I cannot help but remember "The President's Man". I believe that was the name of the movie... a katana wielding Chuck Norris, posing as an Asian culture university professor, with a direct link to the President in case of need.
*giggles* I love those cheesy Chuck Norris movies :-P

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Quote:
Original post by Trapper Zoid
Wouldn't it be easier to engineer the whole society so that warrior kings are respected? That way you couldn't be leader without getting your hands a bit dirty.


This would work, but I can't take this option because of the game's core design. Empires are supposed to rise and fall, so you can't guarantee that such a society will stick around.

Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
It would not only provide a terrific unit for the fight, but would probably boost the crap out of your morale right there. I think it should glow. And hum. Maybe play some kickass 70's hero music.


[lol] I just saw Kung Fu Hustle. Don't encourage me.

Seriously, I think it's a cool idea to both boost morale and have some inspiring effects.

But what do you think about suddenly facing off against an embued enemy? Unless it's for some reason restricted, then the tech would apply to both sides.

Quote:

It might be better just to drop your character Starship Troopers-style into the think of it. It would be like Master Chief showing up in Halo.


I like the idea of your side getting a bonus whenever you show up, however it's done. Maybe you get more props for being in the flesh?

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Original post by ahw
Or you could have an "imperial guard" where all the soldiers are cyborgs whose controlling mind is a clone copy (a shadow) of the leader (or maybe his sons, whichever, somebody devoted to him completely). The reason being that they couldn't be more devoted and willing to sacrifice.


Lots of cool possibilities with this one! :) How do you kill the emperor when you can't be sure which one is really him? (Answer... big bomb)

Quote:

You could have less visible expressions of this. Something similar to "Henri Vth visiting his troops under the cover of darkness", or like the prince trying to duke it out in First Knight under a disguise. Essentially, your leader would have a "plain cloth" bioroid with a shadow copy of him in there.


What do you think about solving problems like conspiracy and corruption this way, as well? As I've envisioned much of the leadership stuff, you don't actually micromanage much of anything. Rather, you get reports about opportunities or threats. So technically, you could assign your stealth bioroid to some mission and then go play that mission.

Too crazy for most players to understand?

Quote:

By "shadow" I assume that there is no possible way to perfectly clone someone's personality in a digital form, except for destructive uploading of one's brain, which would be something frowned upon for a leader (because of all the legal issues).


I err on the side of saying that there's a limit, but what would it mean if you could clone consciousness? Is this a nightmare future where everyone suddenly becomes valueless?

Quote:

Really, it's not so much the ideas that are a problem here, but rather the legal /security issues: how do you know it's really your leader you are obeying, and not somebody hacking into Mechwarrior One? (althoug again, that's some good basis for an adventure)


The whole security thing should be handled on the basis of tech levels, I think. If your enemy has a tech that exceeds your security, best not to use Mechwarrior One. :)

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I like the idea of 'influence'. At any point in time your focus as a leader is on a number of chosen things, and you can delegate and split this 'energy' however you want. The more influence you spend on a task, the certainity of that task being completed increases. If you spread your energy thin over a large army they will behave recklessly and may mutiny or defect to the other side. On the other hand you could spend all your energy on an elite hit squad. This infulence can also be used to negatively effect your opposition spreading fear and confusion.

The infulence idea can be extended to cover political, social and scientific endeavours.

Different units require varying amounts of infulence depending on their strength and abilities. It would be easy to gather a ragged bunch of dull witted bruteish characters together into an army. On the other hand ordering a group of highly trained warriors would require a considerable expenditure of infulence.

Plenty of other dynamics could exist, other leaders could attempt to undermine your infulence by spreading lies and propaganda for example.

So taking this further, spending a large amount of infulence on a character will allow you to completely control them.

If you actually exist in the game (you have an avatar) distance to your character could also effect your infulence. Leading your army in battle will give you an increase in infulence and because of that you will have a significant advantage.

- taken in part from this idea (infulence heading) on my site.

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What about if you simply control another character, period? People are used to seeing different points of view or sides of the same struggle in the movies or TV shows. It would actually be very cool to send your most trusted officer to lead an army into battle, and then the rest of the story would unfold from his point of view, while the original "you" would stay in the palace and deal with paperwork.

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Original post by umbrae
I like the idea of 'influence'. At any point in time your focus as a leader is on a number of chosen things, and you can delegate and split this 'energy' however you want.


OOC, how "formal" do you think this should be? Should it be formalized as an ability with resources that only allow you to do it so often, or as a natural part of the game? Let's assume that there's no telling how much you'll want to do it, really, because the powers in the game world will rise and fall.





Quote:
Original post by Jotaf
What about if you simply control another character, period? People are used to seeing different points of view or sides of the same struggle in the movies or TV shows. It would actually be very cool to send your most trusted officer to lead an army into battle, and then the rest of the story would unfold from his point of view, while the original "you" would stay in the palace and deal with paperwork.


I'm giving this some serious thought, but here's the problem I have: How do you foster character identification?

RPGs and RPG-like games (which I'm aiming for) are famous for getting you to really care about your character because you can customize them. Although I have to really work out some serious problems, I see you controlling multiple characters, but only as time evolves. That is, you play for awhile, level up your self and your holdings, then carry the game on through offspring or cloning yourself or becoming a cyborg.

So you'd play multiple characters (decendants) in some cases, but only after you got a chance to get really attached to a single character. If you're switching characters while you're getting attached, won't it disrupt the process?

To be really out there, do you really need to get attached to one character to care about what's going on in an RPG-like game?

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Original post by Wavinator
I'm giving this some serious thought, but here's the problem I have: How do you foster character identification?


I know, I know, I am endlessly pointing out to references that you probably don't have the time nor money to check out, but still...

who wouldn't want to identify with Chuck Norris? [grin]
LOL, I couldn't resist.

But still, you could've a President's Man kind of thing.
Iron Chef Carnage mentioned that Paladin guy, and I was just reading this morning a book where this guy went around with the seal of Lord Cromwell giving him amazing powers of "persuasion" in his inquiries. The concept is not so bad, and I don't see why your player couldn't get attached to those characters.

Philippe

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