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Sylvius the Mad

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Everything posted by Sylvius the Mad

  1. 2 hours is nothing. You clearly never played Mythus. I had a level 1 wizard with a 9 page character sheet.
  2. This is exactly what I'm talking about. Throw in hit points and I'm 100% behind you.
  3. The problem is that there are essentially two possibilities: you can roll higher stats than you can buy in a reasonable amount of time, or you can't. You can also roll lower stats. Also, point-buy systems tend to discourage exceptionally low values in any stat (though I doubt Obsidian would do that). I like fixed or mostly fixed stats. I'd also support a GURPS-like approach where you can buy stat increases with skill points, so instead of learning a new skill you can make yourself stronger or give yourself more hit points. In fact, I'd be interested to see a game where hit points don't increase unless you buy them at level-up.
  4. I never cease to be amazed by people's capacity to believe what they prefer to be true, rather than what the evidence shows to be likely (or even possible). My degree only allows me to judge the field in which I hold that degree, and I find it lacking. Your approximations (which wouldn't need to be approximate if you actually knew things) produce error. That's the sum total of their value. What you're actually doing is projecting your motives onto other people. If those other people are relevantly similar to you, then their motives match what yours would be in their place, and you think you've correctly perceived their motives. But you haven't. If the other people are not relevantly similar to you, then their motives will not match, and you will have drawn a false conclusion.
  5. Yes, it makes it better. Since the literal meaning doesn't change, the abstraction does affect the Intelligence angle at all, and Charisma would presumably impact only the effectiveness of the statement, which could continue to be true. All the abstraction approach does is free the player's character from the shackles of whatever the writers' foibles happen to be. You misunderstand. I am not claiming that I am in total control of all of the party members individually. I am claiming to be in total control of the group in the aggregate. When the group speaks to outsiders, I (the player) control what it says. This is how you play, as well. But you perceive it as the PC speaking rather than the party speaking. But if the PC isn't an appropriate spokesperson for the group in that instance, why would the rest of the group want him speaking? Why would a low Charisma PC be allowed to speak on behalf of high Charisma companions? It is you, I assert, you is actually controlling the companions individually, as you need somehow to have them allow this suboptimal internal group heirarchy. I suggest that the group, when dealing with outsiders, speaks as a unit, and it is that full group entity who selects the dialogue options. And then, should some individual member of the party disagree with the group's direction, that individual can raise an objection. Yes, the party consists of individuals, and only one of those individuals is entirely my creation, but the group is also under my control. Internally, the party members can disagree, but when dealing with outsiders they work as a unit. I completely reject the very idea of gameplay/story segregation. The gameplay is part of the story. To describe the two separately is nonsensical. In general, I think that's poor design. I do applaud BG for at least having an in-game justification for that mechanic (the Bhaalspawn's essence was consumed upon death), but I find its necessity unfortunate. I'm not claiming to be able to control their thoughts as individuals. Nor their words. But when they speak for the group, they're not speaking as individuals. Whereas, I think the companions in both games are very memorable. I had a stronger connection with the BG companions, though, because I was allowed to play them. Thank you, but I'd rather you were persuaded.
  6. I oppose respec, but I would also like to be able to choose all of the abilities for any party members.
  7. Yes, but with a shallower curve that penalty is lessened in size. And with an exponential XP curve, the penality is lessened in duration.
  8. To be fair, "PC and companions at zero stamina = game over" and "all enemies in a group have zero stamina = dead group" is a consistent application of the rules as we understand them... But if there's some mechanism for my party to revive their unconscious comrades, then the same should be true of my enemies. And if some of the enemies are unconscious, and then I retreat, the enemies should be able to revive their unconscious comrades while I'm gone (just as my unconscious party members are revived at the end of any battle I win).
  9. I don't mind at all if you're allowed to be a reluctant hero. But I don't want to. I want to be a proactive PC who sees something he wants to change and sets out to change it. This is usually how villains are written. There's something about the world they dislike, and they take it upon themselves to make it different. I'd like to do that. I don't want to be the guy tries to clean up someone else's mess. I want to make the mess.
  10. Reluctant Heroes. I hate reluctant heroes. Why can't the heroes be the one with ambition once in a while? Instead, it's always the villains with ambition, which, to me, usually makes the villain the more sympathetic character.
  11. I think a world map where everything makes sense given the physical laws of the world would make writing easier. Having rain shadows downwind of mountains makes sense. Having jungles there doesn't, and it would always make me wonder why that jungle exists.
  12. I can't imagine why anyone would ever think that. If you're going to ask the PC to state his motives, then he does need a way to lie, yes. What potential? What possible value is there is such a system? I don't see why an alignment system of that sort would be at all valuable, especially given the limitations it would necessarily place on roleplaying. I ask again: By what mechanism can you make decisions for your character if you aren't allowed to know his state of mind? And if you aren't making decisions for your character in-character, are you roleplaying? I don't play these games for the story. I play these games to roleplay. If I can't roleplay, I don't want to play them. Every one of my design preferences is selected to advance roleplaying, from dialogue systems to UI design to visual effects. Sure he can guess. But he can't know. Therefore, there's no basis for saying that an NPC's reaction is ever inappropriate. Of course he can do that. But when the result isn't what he expects, that doesn't cause me to throw up my hands and declare the game to be broken, because in the real world we don't ever know why people do the things they do, moment to moment. If I laugh, what did I find funny? Was it something you said? Was it something of which I was reminded by something you said? Was I not listening and my mind wandered off and remembered a joke I heard yesterday from someone else entirely? If I'm short with you, am I angry? At you? Or maybe I'm upset because I just heard that my sister died and, because you haven't yet heard the news, that would never occur to you as a possible explanation? Other people's minds are unknowable. Predictable in the aggregate isn't useful in the instance. Being able to predict behaviour is necessary. Being able to explain that behaviour is not. I think that game would likely offer very limited roleplaying opportunities, by virtue of leaving less implicit content wherein the player could resolve ambiguity as he saw fit.
  13. Since I didn't get to rest of this post earlier (I had to go), I now return to it. Of course the PC should have some limited means to interast with the rest of the simulation. But the question is, should those limitations extend beyond the content that is made explicit? Is the player ever expected (or permitted) to use him imagination to fill in gaps, or is he expected never to do this, and instead always wait fo rthe game to tell him what is true? The latter is how books and movies work, and if I wanted that, I'd be reading a book or watching a movie. I insist that roleplaying games should be the former. If the game solicits input from the player regarding his character's actions, the player needs to know why his character might choose one option over another. And knowledge requires certainty. I would first deny that there is any such thing as interaction (there is action, and there is reaction, but the tw odo not combine to form some sort of gestalt). Second, I would accept the imperfection of the medium. There is always a chance that none of the available options will be compatible with your character design. But, I find this to be extremely rare. A a single line can be intended many different ways. And an unvoiced can be viewed as an abstraction of the actual words spoken, so the player would then have even greater control over his character's words. Just as keyword dialogue systems (like Morrowind, or Ultima IV) don't claim to display the exact words uttered by the PC (the Avatar likely wasn't shouting NAME and JOB at everyone), there's no need to assume that the detailed options offered by Torment or Baldur's Gate are exact representations either. So, yes, I accept that the format has limitations, but those limitations are very small. I have no objection to the world reacting to whatever the PC says or does. I object to the game telling me what the PC says or does, or why. The game should always seek my input on what the PC says or does, and since NPCs cannot know the PC's motives, there's no reason ever to ask me what the PC's motives are (and thus those need never be limited by a finite list). How can the PC's motives ever be a significant part of the game (I'm definiing "game" here as the content that is explcitly portrayed on screen)? Since the PC's motves aren't knowable to anyone but the PC, they can't ever have a direct effect. In the real world, your motives never have a direct effect. Nothing in the world aside from your own nervous system ever reacts to your motives directly. And here, you appear to backtrack completely, suggesting that the things you were calling motives before might have been lies. If you were only ever talking about the PC's claims about what his motives were, then in fact we never disagreed. Absolutely the PC can be given the option to claim what his motives are. Just don't force a truth value on those claims. Anything the PC says could be a lie. The game never needs to know.
  14. That's not knowable from within the game. Why he gets the response he gets is always a mystery to your character. An option either suits the character or it doesn't. It's a binary operator. Fine by me. The problem arises when the game directly contradicts my imagination, after having invited that same imagination. If the game asks me to make a decision on behalf of my character, any reason I imagine on which to base that decision needs to be respected. If there is any limit on what sorts of motives are permitted, that needs to be made clear to the player before the decision is made, not after. That solution is often proposed, but the computational complexity of implementing is such that I doubt anyone who suggests has given it much thought. If I retcon a motive, I need then to examine every prior decision made within that playthrough to determine whether any of those decisions are now incompatible with the new motive. Failing to do that risks an incoherent character, and if my character is incoherent then I have failed as a roleplayer. Archetypes are not interesting characters to play. Archetypes are flat characters. Archetypes are shallow characters. How do you make decisions for your character if not from his point of view? It depends how marrowly you define "modern". DAO was pretty good. I would like Skyrim a lot if it didn't have action combat. Fallout 3 and New Vegas were both good. MMORPGs have a lot of appeal, actually. They basically never have action combat (which I loathe), and the game world doesn't behave as if it exists just for me. Sadly, there are other people in them.
  15. Then you might want to try a different approach from time to time. If it doesn't work with certain games, you could try to adapt to what the game gives you. As long as the game still gives you a good list of options to choose, what's the problem? What did you think when you played KOTOR1 and found that the PC was Revan? Did you think "wow, I did not see that coming" or did you think "this is bullcrap, how dare they trash the personality and background I had elaborated for my PC up to this point"? Because if you do the latter, you're going to be unable to enjoy some good storytelling devices. Discovering things of your character you didn't know can be used for good. The Reven revelation had no relevance to my character design. Those memories he had of his past were real to him - that they weren't true became new information he needed to consider regarding his opinions and even his identity. That was great story telling. KotOR's revelation could be dealt with entirely in-character, so there was never a problem. At no point does KotOR tell me that the PC's knowledge of a situation was different from what I thought it was. But KotOR2 did it the other way around. He should have known all sorts of things, and knowing those things could well have changed his decisions up to the point where the player learns about his past, but by the time that happens it's far too late. Those decisions have already been made. I would argue that KotOR2 doesn't actually allow roleplaying until the second playthrough (when the player now knows what his character does).
  16. This is nonsense. Yes, the player's imagination cannot have a direct effect on the world, but as his impagination informs his character's actions, there is an indirect effect on the world. I'm certainly not asking for a direct effect. That would be crazy. But, when in-character, it's not possible to tell what drives NPC reactions. If the PC says something with a specific objective in mind (or with a specific tone or delivery, as imagined by the player), then any NPC response would appear to be a reaction to that. It doesn't matter if the writers didn't intend that PC line to be delivered in that way or for that reason; the NPC response still looks like a reaction. Perhaps not an expected reaction, but a reaction. This clearly isn't true, as I do play CRPGs just as I describe, and I do enjoy them. Only when the writers expect me to discover my character as mart pf the story (like reading a book) does my approach fail. This is typically only true in the newer games with voiced protagonists, but it is also true in KotOR2, hence my concern here.
  17. Sure they could, but that doesn't require that the PC's motives be limited by the writers. Regardless of what happens in the flashback, the player can still be free to determine why the PC is acting as he is.
  18. I fail to see how this applies to this discussion at all. Yes, if you're roleplaying then you're making the decisions your character would make, given his personality. No one is disputing this. The issue is whether that personality should be created entirely by the player, or whether it should be handed to the player by the writers. I insist that the player needs to be the one to create that personality, because that's the only way for the player to know what his character should do in any given circumstance. It simply isn't possible for the writers to provide the player with sufficient information on which to base his roleplaying decisions if the player isn't allowed to invent that information himself. Only when the mind of the character is populated by the player can the player be familiar enough with the contents of that mind to make decisions on its behalf while still maintaining character coherence.
  19. Torment never directed TNO's motives, though. At no point did Torment tell the player how TNO felt about anything, or why he had done anything.
  20. Games are sometimes written such that convincing someone of a statement becomes easier when its a true statement, even when the truth or falsehood only exists within the PC's mind. If the options "Yes, I will help you," and "[LIE] Yes, I will help you," have different success conditions, that's a problem. Also, sometimes the PC claiming a preference will make that preference mechanically true, and that's also a problem. I'm trying to guard against that. I know most people, when they think about it, are aware that they can't know each other's motivations, but that doesn't help if they don't think about it. Also, some players perceive the dialogue options not just as things the PC can say, but necessarily true expressions of the PC's state of mind. So, if the PC can claim to have seen something, then it is the case that the PC has seen it. These players are relying on the game to tell them about their characters, and I think that has dangerous ramifications for game design, as well. Studying ethics turned me into a big logic and epistemology guy. I'm forced to ask how we know that ethics or human rights are valuable, given those epistemological questions. As Wittgenstein said, "At the core of all well-founded belief lies belief that is unfounded." I care about the epistemological problems. Only once those are solved can the ethical questions become relevant. I would think that should be left to the player. I have played both, and they're differently rewarding.
  21. But killing Vulpes can be part of ordinary gameplay. When the conversation ends, you can pull out a gun and shoot him. There's no need to make that an explicit option in conversation, and there's no need to make killing Vulpes impossible if you don't happen to choose that explicit option in conversation. They should give us the freedom to act as we see fit within the game's mechanics, rather than writing out specific actions for us and having us choose from a list.
  22. The thing I don't want is I don't want the quests in the journal grouped by importance or plot relevance. That's metagame information that shouldn't ever appear in the game. All the in-game journal is is a labour-saving device. It should never provide any information that I couldn't have written down myself. In modern games, I've actually taken to keeping my own hard copy notes outside of the game because the journals are just a disaster. And then a bunch of quests don't make sense because the designers didn't ever take the PC's perspective into account.
  23. Cool. When I was a kid, I could see Saskatchewan from my house.
  24. Please include these. I can't imagine you wouldn't, but a recent discussion over at BSN brought the issue to mind. I really miss the ability to go back through dialogue or combat events to review what happened. I'd especially like to be able to review the conversation log during conversations, so if I don't remember specifically what someone said a minute ago, I can go check. Thanks for listening.
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