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Rybo5001

Fantasy RPG Without the Adventure

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I've been watching these 'Olaf of Skyrim: From Rags to Riches' on youtube; their very funny and interesting to watch.

Essentially a man is role playing as Olaf, a homeless nord with no magical or adventuring skills; the player has set himself rules that he can only earn money through lawful legitimate means. He cannot murder or steal, his ambition is to become rich through farming, mining and hunting animals. Another interesting tidbit: he also has to eat three meals a day and sleep at night.

So it got me thinking, would a game centred purely on this concept be fun? It'd be like The Sims in a way, you're just a normal person living an ordinary life. You can't do quests, you aren't powerful enough to fight more than deer and you have to make a living in this fantasy world.

Maybe you can help heroes who do real quests by smithing them weapons; if you get enough money you could open a bakery or something. You'd get effects happening to you, like if you do not sleep you could pass out, not eating weakens you and you may die; you thirst, maybe have relationships?

Random events could also be interesting, so you are affected by the world around you. For example if there are two warring factions, the enemy could come in to slaughter the villagers (including you) but you're too weak to defend yourself from more than a few people. Maybe your wife gets captured and taken away, bandits burst into your home and mug you.

I'd also enjoy the idea of an actual economy that could be affected, for example if you sell bread and the nearby farm gets burned down, you lose your wheat supply.

But the key point here I'd like to make is to be realistic, getting rich should be really really difficult; and even if you become level 100 with maxed out skills the game should still be difficult; you'll never ever be able to battle a dragon or take on dozens of enemies. And not every skill can be levelled up, if you are a smith you can't suddenly become a good chef or sellsword.


What do you think? Could playing the NPC be fun or too restrictive?

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Depending on how it's done, I think this could be interesting. Maybe have a hard time limit for every day like in Harvest Moon, so you can train what you like after you've seen to the day's duties or decide to blow off your day job grinding out sword skill. A well fleshed-out battle system would be a must, and the presence of mythical beasties far outside the village could add a lot to the game. Your average player will get by selling bread and horse shoes, but the occasional, truly exceptional fighter could dare venture out into the world and make a name for himself slaying things three times his size. Depending on how well-written the combat is, the ratio of people taking on these 'hard mode' challenges would end up much like it is in real life. But the combat would have to be just about perfect to facilitate this: forcing the player to take turns bonking the enemy on the head like Final Fantasy won't fly, even for fighting deer.

Similarly, interpersonal matters would have to be a lot more involved than they are in Fable. Carbon copy NPCs put together from scrap parts, reciting one-size-fits-all dialogue repeatedly won't actually make the player feel connected.

Still, it seems like it'd be very easy to fall into a pattern of "Water the crops, pluck the barley, help at the bakery, go to sleep, repeat." The problem with marketing your game on having an unremarkable adventure is that it'll be...well, unremarkable.

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I think this would be an awesome idea! I've always longed for a game like this, without the simplicity of the Sims. The problem is that it would need to be really intricate, like Den said, and I'm guessing it would be really difficult to program and design. Not to mention it wouldn't exactly be easy to get into for new people and wouldn't be very marketable.

I love the concept, though. The prospect of being able to get through the game your own way, and the more options the better. Going through the game as a hunter, as a thief, as a blacksmith, as a sellsword, as a store manager, etc.


A well fleshed-out battle system would be a must, and the presence of mythical beasties far outside the village could add a lot to the game. Your average player will get by selling bread and horse shoes, but the occasional, truly exceptional fighter could dare venture out into the world and make a name for himself slaying things three times his size. Depending on how well-written the combat is, the ratio of people taking on these 'hard mode' challenges would end up much like it is in real life. But the combat would have to be just about perfect to facilitate this: forcing the player to take turns bonking the enemy on the head like Final Fantasy won't fly, even for fighting deer.

I love this, too. The combat would have to be intricate and genuinely difficult as to make sure that you can't just run out there and hit things until you're high enough level to punch a dragon in the face and kill it. Leveling up your skills should just give you more ways to fight, but so that you still have to pour time, energy, and tactics into taking down bigger creatures.

The most difficult part of making this game would be that you couldn't just have one design team, you'd need a bunch. Ones who can design game economies, who know the workings of merchants and stores, as well as people who can make such a fighting system, and make NPCs that you genuinely care for and who are going to be a part of your day-to-day life.

All things said, I think this game would be amazing if done right. Sadly, I don't think it'll happen just because there's not exactly a huge interest in it.

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Carbon copy NPCs put together from scrap parts, reciting one-size-fits-all dialogue repeatedly won't actually make the player feel connected.


I think the only way this idea could be done correctly, were if it were a relatively small world (say one village and a forest) so that it could be very detailed (NPCs with a lot of dialogue).

And as I typed this it also occurred to me that a limited size area also presents another interesting challenge for the player: if there are only so many trees in the land, you can't chop them all down for your fire or the trees will all die out.

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That's really the best way to do NPCs imo, and you see it in other 'small world' games like Harvest Moon. Nobody's a throwaway, an extra. They may seem like it because they never say anything relevant to you on your chosen path beyond "Howdy," but then you see your friend play a completely different way and they're best friends with somebody who you thought had no lines. Everybody's got a story. This is true in life, so it should be true in your game too ^^

And yeah, limiting the economy and resources is basically a must for a game like this to really come into its own. Not only should shops have limited money; they shouldn't be willing to spend to the last dime on you either. Lest we forget, they're actually trying to make a living, same as you. Plus, tussles over resources are basically the most common sort, so if someone wants in on the lumber industry and you're chopping down as many trees as we can afford to lose, they're gonna take it up with you. And depending on their temperament, swords may or may not be involved.

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Lest we forget, they're actually trying to make a living, same as you. Plus, tussles over resources are basically the most common sort, so if someone wants in on the lumber industry and you're chopping down as many trees as we can afford to lose, they're gonna take it up with you. And depending on their temperament, swords may or may not be involved.


I love the two ideas you've mentioned here.

In most RPGs you can clear anyone's coin purse out if you have enough to sell; but why would they give away all their money for a bunch of shovels.

And perhaps intruding too much on someone else's livelihood can have wildly varying effects; one business may be forced to close, giving you more sales; maybe someone will hire a sell sword to threaten you or worse.



This whole premise is getting more exciting as everyone contributes more.

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To be honest, it sounds boring. I do enjoy those parts of RPG's, but if that was the only thing in the game it would become pretty dull.
It would just anoy the player if you did nothing wrong and sudenly a random even caused bandits to raid your village and kill you and for some reason you cant defend yourself.

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you cant defend yourself.


Oh no, you can defend yourself; my point is you aren't some super-warrior who can slay hundreds of enemies without a scratch or just pop some herbs to keep going. You might be able to take out a small group.

Alternatives would be to run and hide of course, wait until the bandits move on, maybe even bribe them to leave you alone or trick them into leaving "There's a gold deposit in the mine...." *seal shut*

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The question of "Can it be fun" would depend on the person. Some grown adults can spend their day popping the bubbles on packaging wrap, or laugh for hours making fart sounds with their armpits. Some people are just much easier to entertain than others.

It's obvious from the posts here already that some people might enjoy such a "simple" game, just like people enjoy those virtual life games you see across the internet. The questions you should be asking are if making such a game would meet your own goals. Do you intend to make money from the game? If so, could you reasonably sell enough copies to recover all costs and still scrape a profit from it? If you don't intend to make such a game for money, do you know enough other like-minded developers that would be interested in such a project?

If you do intend to sell such a game, I think you're going to have a lot of problems earning a profit on it. And I really don't think any publishers would pick up on such a title, knowing that the market interest in such a game would be quite low. Imagine how hard it would be to sell a game the revolved around making Big Macs or mopping floors all day. People generally "play a game" to escape the real world, to immerse themselves in adventure and go on a journey that's normally out of their grasp.

I don't intend to hurt your feelings or say your idea is dumb. I'm just saying that the market for such a game would be quite small, not nearly enough to draw a profit from it. If you intend to make this as a hobby game (freeware), and have the time and talent necessary to see it done, then by all means go for it.


Personally, if I thought it was "fun" to run around and pick lettuce all day, I'd simply go get a real job on a farm picking lettuce. At least at the end of the day, the coins in my purse are real, the experiences were real...and the blisters are real.

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To be honest, it sounds boring. I do enjoy those parts of RPG's, but if that was the only thing in the game it would become pretty dull.
It would just anoy the player if you did nothing wrong and sudenly a random even caused bandits to raid your village and kill you and for some reason you cant defend yourself.


That's what guards are for. Anyway, you can try to run away or hide. Also, these parts of the rpg are only lame because the developers spend too much time on what they're trying to sell (i.e. combat and whatnot), not to mention that in most rpgs you can't buy guards and whatnot.

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