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TechnoGoth

What would you want to do in an RPG without combat?

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Now we all know most RPGs are about combat. But if you where to play one where there was no combat then what would you want to do in it? Now I'm not saying its a non violent game. Just that combat would be removed from it and instead come down to a characters stats and skills. Get jumped by two muggers carrying knives and choose to fight. The outcome would be based on your stats, skills, and equipment. But there'd be no battle for you to involve yourself in. There might be snap decisions for you to make. These come as option windows and a couple of seconds to make choice, but no combat in the traditional sense. If that was the case and you where playing a game in a new near future, crime ridden world. What sort of activities would you want to spend your time doing? So far I have: Social interactions Item building, Syndicate Building, Stealth operations, DD&M(Death, Destruction, and Mayham) [Edited by - TechnoGoth on November 27, 2006 11:36:34 AM]

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Would be tough to pull off IMO. Taking all control out of the hands of the player and placing it on a dice roll? That will be a mighty big pill for people to swallow. Especially those who have become attached to their characters.

You may be able to package it as a RPG-lite and appeal to casual RPG players that don't have the time or patience for long and detailed combat systems.

Without something to slow players down you are going to have to find other timesinks to keep players from maxing out really quickly.

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What you are describing sounds like an interesting strategy game concept, not so interesting of an "RPG" as the term is normally used. Have you considered removing single-character stats (like strength and speed) and instead focus on acquired power (monetary, territory, reputation, etc)? Possibly "combat" is actually just the final outcome of strategic planning and mission completion.

For example, you are currently the syndicate boss in Hightown. Your mission is to make alliances with the street gangs in Lowtown, but the triads in Lowtown want to keep control of those gangs. The mission begins by making peace with the gangs (in some way or another, depends on your gameplay and may have been an ongoing mission throughout the game). At some point, the triads come in to stop you and the gangs that you have acquired will either work with you or turn on you. Later, any acquired territory/gangs can be used to further your mob, or failure could result in the triads growing and taking your territories.

If you wanted it to feel more like the standard definition of an "RPG", this can all be presented in a style where you still control a single character. But your actions affect the world as a whole. (Now imagine this system in a Grand Theft Auto game...)

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Any number of things!

I don't understand how one could possibly think it'd be tough to pull of an RPG without combat. Combat is the tiniest slice of roles that can be played! Unfortunately, so many games are based on it. You could take on the role of an explorer or, well, anyone interesting who does interesting things.

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Combat in an RPG seems to have a couple different roles:

- Uses character attributes to test against a measurable obstacle
- Quick suspenseful action
- Achievement/Reward system

Find any other event that accomplishes the same roles, and combat can be overlooked. :)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Puzzle solving? As in Myst and Uru? Just have more of a character ?
Exploration and expeditions? - I for one like that more then combat. The rewards can be fining digging up gold or a cheap source of some item for sale.
Research and discovery? – Find out how to make bronze, compass or telescopes?
Business like game? As in Universal (A Tractor) RPG? Although it still has combat on some worlds most worlds are just big simple monopoly game.
Just talking and hanging out, parties, weddings, dances.

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Micromanagement, like scheduling your daily affairs in a sims style, might do it for some people. Leaving out combat or some other clear "do or die" scenario, though, you often wind up without a litmus test for your performance.

Wonder Project J for the SNES had a neat dynamic by which you'd perform a bunch of tasks to train your character to respond in a certain way to certain stimuli, then cut him loose in different situations. He'd have to open certain doors in certain ways, or use an item properly. It was fairly rudimentary, but it rewarded your efforts with a clear victory condition that was seldom related to killing something.

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Actually I think "no combat at all roll playing" is a kind of rpg that people have been hoping for. My idea of it is possibly too much like a sim. Create a character, possibly several, with in depth real-life features like diabetes or fear of spiders. Then you would have to manage their health and food intake, stay away from diseased people. Then managment of money or land, a business, even political power. There might be a greater goal such as free your people from oppression. I would put this in an ancient times setting. (if you die of old age at 40 carry on as one of your children.)

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Anyone remember the original Dune game from Virgin?

This is one that really blurred the line between RPG and RTS, though it's probably much more RTS-leaning as you couldn't affect your own skills.

But the combat system was non-interactive on your part. You'd direct Fremen to target bases that were Harkonnen-controlled, and you would see the units either win or lose.

you could train up your Fremen army, but you never got to actually control them...ie. "Take out that Sadukar cannon on the right!"

But in the end, it really worked for the game design. You were focused on meeting spice production numbers to appease the Emperor, while monitoring and directing your Fremen forces.

But to get back OT, why not allow the player to do both? When combat begins, present the player with the option to skip the combat and base the outcome solely on your stats. *shrug*

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Combat is rare in the day-to-day lives of most people. Perhaps your fictitious world is no different. Considering this, you could instead discourage most combat (as it may be allowed, but simply unfruitful for the most part) and focus on overcoming the major obstacles in other, perhaps even more magnificent, or perhaps more subtle and humorous, but certainly satisfying ways.

As an example, watch Superman Returns. Sure, there was no Doomsday monster for him to fight, but what happened instead is still magnificent. So your opponent has his own island? Why not move or destroy the island off the face of the earth? You have many options here.

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