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NPCs, story, and danger problems

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The problem I''ve run into while designing my game is that of the NPCs in a player''s group (the game is something of a squad-based tactical combat game). I want to make the danger of combat seem realistic, i.e. people can die, so the player has some way of losing the game. But the problem is that NPCs would also be as fragile, and so the player could continue without them, supposedly. However, this interferes with my plans for story, which would actually develop the NPCs as characters, meaning losing one would alter the rest of the story for the entire game. So can anyone come up with a solution? Should I just tell the player to deal with it if they lose someone? ------------------------------ Omnipotent_Q "Natural Gas! It gives you... ideas!"

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i thought about this problem because i am working on an RPG, and i decided to allow anyone to die, but the few key NPCs would not disappear forever but rather show up later again (perhaps at a temple or something, or washing up in a strange island where you can find them again later).

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Don''t some games implement it so that you don''t actually die, but just pass out? so if your health is below 0, you are unable to play. Maybe to -5 or something, you can slowly recover, then your NPCs will retreat when they wake up and then run away to recover. If it is super important to you, you could include monster AI to say *PlotImportantNPC*-Attack, but not kill.
Also, perhaps plot essential NPCs don''t engage in melee battle

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To be brutally honest, I don''t think you can really have it both ways. If it''s important that characters survive the length of the game, then you need to swing the balance of your game in their favour. This is usually done by saying that you can continue playing as long as all your party is not dead. (eg. You can resurrect or revive dead or wounded characters providing at least one of your party survives.) This is another example of how it''s very difficult to have your game being very dynamic when you want to wrap a story around it.

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If an NPC is critical to the plot, have him run away from combat. He could participate in a stealth role - providing suppression fire, sniping, etc - but if you allow him to die, allow him to die! Convoluted schemes to persist an NPC that was shot in the head with a musket... Ugh.

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Thanks to Kylotan for the idea!

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hmmm, when I played Fallout:Tactics, if I lost a squad member Id usually reload (I know, I know). Sometimes I would force myself to bear with it, but I kinda got attached to them.

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