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What of the Main Protagonist?


Llyranor

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Hmm, quick background. In testing out multiple approaches to storytelling for my NWN2 mod, I've throw away the default combat system and opted for an unified interface for diplomacy/combat/stealth in order to convey them in a manner that enhances roleplaying/storytelling, rather than just making them gameplay mechanics that have little relevance. As such, I've ditched the DnD system and instead am making my own combat system, which relies on the conversation system of NWN2, allowing for more interactive battles (throwing tables, talking during combat, etc).

 

The point is that, in doing so, I've thrown away the core of character creation from the game. As such, the actual character creation process would just consist of aesthetic changes (race, gender, appearance, etc).

 

This has led me to recently think about whether the concept of a main avatar that the player creates was required or not. An idea I'm thinking about right now is to use multiple perspectives to tell the story. This wouldn't be a "I'm such a good cutscene director, watch my cutscenes of non-protagonists" manner, but instead in one such that you would actually be roleplaying these characters, making decisions that would alter the storyline, either aiding or hindering the 'protagonist'. I'm taking some influences from Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy), where playing the killer covering his tracks then as the detective investigating the murder scene was *very* cool. What if you played some army dude who commanded an army to attack a certain city, then the perspective would switch to one of the enemy soldiers who had to defend the city, for example?

 

Effectively, the focus would be on storytelling and roleplaying, but not in the way it's portrayed in most RPGs nowadays. You wouldn't be roleplaying YOUR character, you'd be roleplaying the story.

 

Some of you may find this unacceptable, but consider whether this may benefit storytelling. In the average RPG, you play the main protagonist. Basically, you're invincible. You can do no wrong. Messed up a quest? Reload. Sure, it makes you feel like a big shot. What if you played characters from BOTH sides of the conflict. If you roleplay one character into defeating the other, then you haven't lost, you wouldn't need to reload, just continue playing. It allows for a more dynamic method of storytelling rather than the protagonist just crushing everyone before him/her, and it allows for multiple viewpoints into a certain story, rather than a one-sided one.

 

Considering that in this mod, all you would gain from the initial character creation screen would be aesthetic customization, do you guys think allowing a main protagonist is still necessary? In making one of the characters in the game the 'protagonist', players will already start off with a bias towards this character. What do you guys think?

 

(Granted, I'm still working out the mechanics of character customization in-game, and the extent to which the characters will be customizable. So, depending on this, having a main protagonist being 'more customizable' might work.)

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Couldn't you incorporate skills and saves in your combat system?

 

So if, say, the character the gamer was playing had a chair thrown at him, you might have different options based on the characters abilities, saves, and skills. So, when roleplaying the result of having the chair thrown at him, a character with a high reflex save might be able to dodge it, while one with a high strength and dexterity might even catch it.

 

I don't think you need to ditch it all to make an interactive combat system based on roleplay.

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Couldn't you incorporate skills and saves in your combat system?

 

So if, say, the character the gamer was playing had a chair thrown at him, you might have different options based on the characters abilities, saves, and skills.  So, when roleplaying the result of having the chair thrown at him, a character with a high reflex save might be able to dodge it, while one with a high strength and dexterity might even catch it.

 

I don't think you need to ditch it all to make an interactive combat system based on roleplay.

Of course, only it'd be a covert system working behind the scenes, NOT like standard DnD character creation.

 

What I'm saying it that, since you'd be defining who your character(s) is(are) *in-game*, as opposed to making a main protagonist from a character creation screen outside of the game, is there a need for a distinction between the 'main' character and others who you would help define as well? Do players feel an inherent need to identify with their own customized avatar, or can they identify with various characters *whom they will roleplay anyway*?

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I think its a very interesting idea and I would go ahead with it no matter what people might say :ermm:

 

 

CRPG fans are very hard to please and theyre usually extremely conservative while at the same time demanding new things.

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Guest Fishboot

I would very much look forward to a multiple viewpoint game, even if there is no true singular protagonist at all. I don't know if it will hit the same pleasure centers as a traditional RPG, but it seems very workable. It sounds a bit like a non-linear adventure game.

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By not implementing combat at ALL in its default state. It'll all be more abstract and using the conversation system as its main interface (like I said, a unified interface for combat/stealth/dialogue). The point of this is that the focus isn't on how many points in Str or whether you have Power Attack or not, but instead focuses on the storytelling aspects of combat, with statistics and rolls being done in the background. Effectively, you will prevail not because you have good numbers, but because you made good *choices* in combat. This ensures as well a much more dynamic combat system, rather than focusing on the standard attack and special feats or whatever. Basically, I'll be implementing combat as an additional storytelling device rather than a gameplay mechanic, and thanks to the 'unified interface', there won't be an arbitrary segmentation between different approaches (you can fight while some of your allies are sneaking behind, all while negotiating with the enemy all at once, for example). And it's turn-based :*

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