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Character disposition

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Thanks for having me on the board, I'm new. Currently working on an adventure game with multiple paths, and wanted your input on something.

My adventure hopes to tend to your personality, giving you some basic choices. Here's a summary of the dispositions:

companion : a loyal friend
loner : independent and solo
protective : a healer and provider
subservient : submissive and greatful

Yes, I want to provide a few very different directions that you can take in the game depending on your disposition. This is to give the protagonist more of your will and desire rather than only his own. While I realize you can't attend every whim and desire of people, I want some branches that lend themselves to different personalities. Similar branches, especially the first two, have already been seen in adventures games like Indiana Jones Fate of Atlantis. But I am testing out some new branches to see if anyone would play that way.

Take a look at the details below, and then pick one. How do you, or would you, play a game, especially a narrative story with multiple paths? Just as an example, let's imagine a general Beneath a Steel Sky type setting, but with more story branches that provide personal freedom rather than only the will of Mr. Foster.

You like to work as a team in a close relationship which may or may not be romantic. You are a loyal friend. Two heads are better than one, and you're flexible enough, as long as the other is also flexible. Together you can accomplish much.
[u]Visualize:[/u] Survive together. Explore together. Accomplish quests or help others together. Work through the main plot together. The emphasis is on teamwork and problem solving. A romantic relationship is possible.

You prefer to go it alone. Any relationships you form do not become a close bond. Fending for yourself as a solo survivalist is what you do best. You might genuinely want to help others, but you do it without anyone's help.
[u]Visualize:[/u] Survive. Find food and shelter. Help others if you have the means and desire.

You protect someone and are dominant over them. You look for those willing to serve, in trade for security and stability. You prefer this much more than working as a team, which can create conflict or at best just lose your interest. You offer yourself as a haven and place of concealment from emotional insecurity and/or material poverty. Your primary goal is to give to the down-trodden (if only one person) in every way you can, emotionally and materially.
[u]Visualize:[/u] You have what someone needs. Emotional security or material provisions. You seek out those who will be loyal to you and serve you in trade for giving them everything you can. In a very grim world, even four walls and hot food is luxury. Whether the world a vast desert where shade and water are your means, or it is a cold rainy city where a small room and wool blankets are your means, you are the provider of something that someone is in that way otherwise destitute.

You seek a haven in someone because you are insecure by nature. You are submissive and take refuge in someone materially and emotionally. You seek it in a dominate kind of person. not just any dominate person, perhaps, but one that you feel drawn to for some reason. Most often because they emotionally and materially have everything you don't. You appreciate the sense of security they provide and serve them in anything they ask. It brings you fulfillment and you long for little besides.
[u]Visualize:[/u] Seek an emotional and material haven. You're desperate. The world is grim. More than anything you need a strong character figure to give you the backbone you don't have. Even if you're male and she's female, as long as she's confident and provides some haven, you'll serve in any way. Be it folding clothes, keeping the house, doing errands. You'll be a maid, you'll be a servant, you'll be a toy, but most importantly you'll be thankful for the haven.

Yes please let me know what you think about tending to these styles of character and varying the story path greatly depending.

[b]Thank you for reading![/b]


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Hmm, it's really hard to pick one of these. For each, I can imagine it being a lot of fun or no fun at all depending on the details. I'd like to pick companion because I like romances and buddy stories, but that totally depends on who the companion is, because I'd rather be a loner than stuck with an annoying or boring companion. For protective, I enjoy things like being the mayor or generous benefactor of a town, being the owner of an intelligent pet or mount, being rich and famous. But I know that in real life I don't enjoy being a leader/boss/responsible one of a group, I don't particularly enjoy giving orders and hate being responsible for giving discipline. And for subservient, I could enjoy being a beloved pet, it's nice to imagine being taken care of or having a heroic leader I really respected and believed in, but I have no interest in actually being under someone else's authority, I hate being given orders or punishments, and although I enjoy helping solve people's problems, I don't particularly enjoy serving someone.

I guess I'd pick companion first in the optimistic hope it would be a companion I liked, then if I didn't like that choice I'd start over and pick loner.

[quote name='stopmotion' timestamp='1298071035' post='4776127']
You protect someone and are dominate over them.[/quote]
That should say dominant. Dominate is a verb, dominant is the adjective. This seems to be a really common error on the internet, I don't understand why.

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sunandshadow, thank you for your reply. :) I like your examples, especially " I could enjoy being a beloved pet." Haha, that would be interesting huh? That's right, any of them could be interesting for me too, depending on the details. Since I would be writing a linear type story but with multiple paths, I would definitely develop each path in a way that brought out the better things you imagined. Because I don't imagine anyone else likes the things you stated you didn't like. But at least a player's method of working through the plot could be specialized for him/her personally.

abstractaway makes a good point. Maybe you wouldn't want to play a particular way through most of the story. So maybe these general modes of play could present themselves in new situations, and that is the time you would choose.

But I really like these different dispositions and I hope you can imagine how they could be worked into a story. I should say that they would remain in the background, presenting themselves by way of conversation choices with NPCs, or particular actions. This way the natural desire of the player is drawn out, not determined by direct question--that wouldn't be very interesting and would seem confining.

Most adventure games are about some protagonist's personal determination and goals and way of handling things. But I find myself strongly wanting to diverge, to do something really different. Someone on another board recommended instead to just do "a wide variety of abilities, skills and potencies". But then I imagine myself writing too much story to tend to all the possible character builds. I do like story and I want to write, even if threaded. That's why I made a list of what I think to cover much more of the possible desires of the player.

Yeah, I think I'm trying to create possibilities for relationships with NPCs that will change the story in a large way.

Daydream: (There is some initial plot or conflict that you are trying to solve. )
You walk into someone's apartment in a big city. You're there because they may have some information or item that you need to continue your problem solving. But instead of this location and NPC just being an asset to the plot, you realize through conversation that you can take interest and develop a relationship. If you head down this path, they start sharing their life with you, telling you things about them, showing you things that are important to them. This relationship changes the story, because it changes your life. The relationship becomes more important than your previous ambitions. You may in fact leave those ambitions for new ones. Because you end up growing close to this person, and now want to protect them from some ensuing harm, or serve them while they protect you from the consequences of your diversion.

This is just an example, and will only be presented a few different times in the story. But at least this way you can really be amazed by your ability to drastically change the story.

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[quote name='stopmotion' timestamp='1298079921' post='4776172']
Because I don't imagine anyone else likes the things you stated you didn't like.[/quote]
Actually I'm certain there are people out there who do enjoy giving orders and punishments, and other who enjoy being given orders and serving others. I fairly often encounter people who love things I dislike. *shrug* If you want to create interactive fiction, I think the key is basically giving the player the chance to accept or reject each little module of story, so they can take the ones they like and avoid the ones they don't. (This is an alternative to thinking of "modes of play", instead it goes with what you said about things regularly (re)presenting themselves in sew situations.)

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[quote name='sunandshadow' timestamp='1298082475' post='4776181']
the key is basically giving the player the chance to accept or reject each little module of story, so they can take the ones they like and avoid the ones they don't. [/quote]

That does sound a lot simpler. Maybe that's doing the same basic thing. Only the designer is thinking about the possible dispositions of the player, so the modules can differ in that way.

It's helpful to think of a story made of modules, thank you. I'm going to work with that.

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