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Skyhawk02

Morality System

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I believe people have their own morality system in their own souls, and I believe the writers should work with it: Make choices have consequences, no more no less, and do not link those to some sort of artificial karma. Let the player interprete things at his own leisure. 'Aplicability as opposed to Allegory'.

 

Unless, the story itself is about a moral code and attempting to adhere to it. Then you may need a system.

Edited by Delterius

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My biggest concern is avoiding Bioware style morality choices, where you're usually presented with save the orphanage vs. slaughter kittens type choices.

 

Give us a bit of grayness please.

 

Also like others in the thread I'd want it to be an "invisible" system.

 

BTW, Tamerlane what's your avatar? I recognize it but I can't place it.

Edited by NoxNoctum

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I agree about the mass effect system in general, although the system in Mass Effect 3 removed the problem of having to be either/or. There were renegade, paragon, and neutral responses, all of which contributed to your ability to persuade with either diplomacy or strong-arming. This was ok. It's better not to even try to divide reputation up this way. Dragon Age 2 focused on each individual character's relationship with the protagonist, which I liked, and which is more alike to obsidian's influence system in, say, Kotor II or Alpha Protocol.

 

It would match up with reality better if each character's influence system were a little bit different.

 

The way a writer might do this is to start with the story arc - outline the most important events, the details of their personality, and some ways in which the player will play into that. Then you would decide, for each character, how the influence system would work for each incident and in the greater story arc. Some characters will love a PC that is funny; others will be unimpressed until they see them make a key action that proves their worth. The rewards would, accordingly, be different. One would have a very large boost for a handful of events, and the other would have lots of little boosts to their friendship with the PC, but they might or might not take the PC as seriously.

 

While it's useful to have some idea of the effect you're having on a character, it's better to replace that with or add that to a character story arc that already makes sense, so that the player has a sense of the character as a truly separate entity. I feel that giving all characters similar boosts for every decision, more or less all equal, is a little flat - to go with the fact that giving gifts is more or less constant, as well as a little 2-dimensional. As if the character development is a game mechanic.

 

Ok, well. It's a little late, so I hope that wasn't too blabby. I could probably go on all night about this, ha.

Edited by RowanShe
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My biggest concern is avoiding Bioware style morality choices, where you're usually presented with save the orphanage vs. slaughter kittens type choices.

 

Give us a bit of grayness please.

 

Also like others in the thread I'd want it to be an "invisible" system.

 

BTW, Tamerlane what's your avatar? I recognize it but I can't place it.

Francisco Goya's "Saturn Devouring His Son". Signature is also a Goya painting, albeit a bit less famous.


jcod0.png

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So, yeah. It's not so much, I think, maybe just for me, that it needs to be 'invisible' - but that it needs to be erratic, more motivated by sensible aspects of plot and character interaction.

 

I thought Dragon Age was rather good for giving us grey choices - in part because morality was judged on a more individual basis. Mass Effect had some ambiguity, maybe more than it was given credit for - the renegade/paragon division was a little artificial, something that became clearly very artificial as the series moved along.

Edited by RowanShe
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I would like a morality system that isn't as sesame street as Mass Effects Good or Bad. Any morality choices need to be grey or at least based on something like the dnd system of Lawful good to Chaotic good.

 

I don't think that moral choices should be overly obvious is what I'm trying to say.

 

Dragon Age 2's not existent consequences need to be avoided also. It feels like you can decide anything in that game and it won't matter.

Edited by Moonlight Butterfly

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Hmm. Given that the PCs souls seem to be quite important to the setting I imagine that morality or at least philosophy will play into it to some degree. Hopefully it will be with Obsidian's typical panache.

 

Whilst I do like morality being revealed through interaction through the game world I think it can also make an interesting mechanic in terms of the games systems itself. Though too often this means being rewarded for playing a paragon of good or a dastardly moustache stroking villain.

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Interestingly enough, they've already stated that characters have souls. To interject the notion of a "soul's personality" or palpable elements of a soul, we must understand that alignment could exist, per se, and be interpreted culturally. Alignment may be a cultural phenomenon, but it could be (in this fiction of PE) an actual thing to sense and describe. I do not object to a society developing notions of good and evil. Should a culture find it helps them to describe traits they find dangerous as "evil" then so be it, if it helps them survive (or if they feel it helps them survive). I rather like the Runequest RPG notion of devotion to deities and runes. I eagerly await a new game set in Glorantha (even though this isn't it).

 

I think that if there are indicators of deeds done, killing anyone might be evil -- but we should mete out story event by what is noticed. Rather than just flag the game that so-and-so died, also flag the player character (if they know they've killed someone) and any NPC with qualifiers on *what* they've observed or heard reported to them. A global observation/belief engine, if coded, might be unique and interesting. I do not think to see such a thing in this game. After all, two hundred grand in real dollars so we can play house is a bit much. Are they going to let us play Sims with that house and decorate it? Are they intending to include houses for each NPC for them to decorate uniquely to each game replay? How much more would a fancy-smancy NPC behavior and observation AI cost?

 

Well, alignment might cost us all less.

Edited by septembervirgin

"This is what most people do not understand about Colbert and Silverman. They only mock fictional celebrities, celebrities who destroy their selfhood to unify with the wants of the people, celebrities who are transfixed by the evil hungers of the public. Feed us a Gomorrah built up of luminous dreams, we beg. Here it is, they say, and it looks like your steaming brains."

 

" If you've read Hart's Hope, Neveryona, Infinity Concerto, Tales of the Flat Earth, you've pretty much played Dragon Age."

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I'd be curious whether a completely hidden "morality" (by which I mean reputation-based, as discussed in the general gaming forum) system would work. Let's abstract towns, factions, and important NPCs (including party members) each as an entity, and define each entity as having two things: a) a reaction to each one of your choices (including a null reaction for things they could not possibly be privy to); and b) a hidden reputation counter which cumulatively keeps track of such. Note that by "hidden" in this context I mean that it's never quantified. You can have reactions - a snide remark from a party member, a dressing-down from the local lord of the land, effusive praise from the clergy of a particular deity, or be outright attacked - and for the most part they should be predictable, with only the rare gotchas.

 

Reputation can act as a sort of latitude from your out-of-character actions, a favour mechanic of some sort. You could commit a capital crime and be pardoned, or be given the benefit of the doubt when trying to tell a bald-faced lie. The examples may be a bit too specific, but going back, the broad idea is that it'd be a modifier to future reactions with a given entity which can modify the outcome of a given decision outright.

 

Depending on who we'll be interacting with in the game, it might make more sense to go with the separate meters for morality and reputation. Fallout 2 had that system, I think. One meter for Fame and one for Karma. You could still make just as much of an impact on anyone regardless of how good, bad or neutral you were (although certain people would react differently depending on karma, slavers for example).

 

However, I think it might be better if you don't have any kind of notification for what your morality is, outside of how other people react to you and your decisions. It'd make you less likely to just try and max out your morality without thinking about your choices and it might be fun to think you're doing the right thing, with your party members agreeing with you. Then you realise that those guys are unmitigated bastards and you've just accidentally accepted an assassination contract on a nun. Curse these assassins and their flowery, foppish language!

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I agree it isn't necessary. There is no worthwhile reason in my mind to include a gauge for a character's personal morality. Karma in New Vegas was a good example. It was just... there. It served no purpose with the faction system. All a morals system does is hamper role-playing by encouraging a rigid approach to every dilemma. It can also unfairly influence a player's impressions of an NPC instead of forcing them to get to know the character and reach their own conclusions.

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The most important thing is that if there's a slider of any kind, it should be HIDDEN FROM THE PLAYER.

 

No metagaming for influence points!

I'd be curious whether a completely hidden "morality" (by which I mean reputation-based, as discussed in the general gaming forum) system would work. Let's abstract towns, factions, and important NPCs (including party members) each as an entity, and define each entity as having two things: a) a reaction to each one of your choices (including a null reaction for things they could not possibly be privy to); and b) a hidden reputation counter which cumulatively keeps track of such. Note that by "hidden" in this context I mean that it's never quantified. You can have reactions - a snide remark from a party member, a dressing-down from the local lord of the land, effusive praise from the clergy of a particular deity, or be outright attacked - and for the most part they should be predictable, with only the rare gotchas.

 

Reputation can act as a sort of latitude from your out-of-character actions, a favour mechanic of some sort. You could commit a capital crime and be pardoned, or be given the benefit of the doubt when trying to tell a bald-faced lie. The examples may be a bit too specific, but going back, the broad idea is that it'd be a modifier to future reactions with a given entity which can modify the outcome of a given decision outright.

 

Depending on who we'll be interacting with in the game, it might make more sense to go with the separate meters for morality and reputation. Fallout 2 had that system, I think. One meter for Fame and one for Karma. You could still make just as much of an impact on anyone regardless of how good, bad or neutral you were (although certain people would react differently depending on karma, slavers for example).

 

However, I think it might be better if you don't have any kind of notification for what your morality is, outside of how other people react to you and your decisions. It'd make you less likely to just try and max out your morality without thinking about your choices and it might be fun to think you're doing the right thing, with your party members agreeing with you. Then you realise that those guys are unmitigated bastards and you've just accidentally accepted an assassination contract on a nun. Curse these assassins and their flowery, foppish language!

 

Or, what if you DO see a morality slider, but it's based on your perception of your morality and not on what other people think of you. You could think that you're some kind of holy crusader, righting wrongs but then you get to a fairly large town and the guards show up and try to arrest you because you've been murdering people who were just getting into disputes over whose field was whose and wiping out villages of kobolds and goblins who were little more than minor nuisances.

 

At this point your character's view of his own morality starts plummeting wildly and he decides to fight his way past the guards, slaughtering them all and sending him squarely down a path of merciless bloodshed as he tries to justify his actions to the world. No, wait, that's a little too heavy for me, let's not do that. The guards just take your favourite sword off you instead.

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I think it would be interesting to introduce a morality system based on emotions/temperament rather than good/evil or chaos/order.

 

So your character would develop reputations or temperaments based on whether you choose to be rash, calm, aggressive, passive, vengeful, forgiving, etc.

 

Plus since the magic system is based on a character's soul, the way a character behaves could have an effect on that.

Well, this was pretty much my own two cents on the matter. I like this idea, a whole heck of a lot. You could even get stat bonuses to some things; for instance, are you always calm, logical, and reasonable? Then you'd get a point or two towards Diplomacy. Not only because you're good at handling this skill, but because other peoples perception of your unbiased opinion and calm demeanor make them more likely to accept what you have to say.

 

Meanwhile, are you MISTER RAGE WHO ALWAYS SHOUTS!? Intimidation goes up, because people know better than to try and upset you. Also, because you're simply better at cowing people after you've done it enough times.

Edited by HangedMan
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Do you like hardcore realistic survival simulations? Take a gander at this.

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There should be no system jsut like in real life.

I don't know what kind of life you live but where I come from your actions are judged by your peers, and past deeds are not forgotten. Telling someone off is likely to anger the recipient and temporarily/permanently lower my standing in his eyes, doing so repeatedly would most likely cause an altercation. That altercation would most certainly influence anyone in our presence at the time, either putting me in bad light or good light depending on if I was justified to tell him off to begin with.

 

Actions in real life have consequences, so why would they not have that in game.

 

What you're talking about is a reputation meter not an absolute morality meter.

 

Reputation meters are fine. FNV did a lot of great things with it and that's what I'd prefer rather than a karma meter.

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Alpha protocol, your actions have consequences.

 

Aye, just like the original Fallout they should allow players to do whatever they want, but put in consequences for whatever they do. Choice and consequence is the basis of all games, but does not need to be tied to a morality system. You do stuff and things will happen.

 

EDIT: An awesome form of consequences could be changes to abilities to reflect your character's behavior. Perhaps a self-sacrifcing character will do extra healing to severe injuries with spells at the cost of its own health, while a selfish prick character could do more to themselves at the expense of an ally's health and an aggressive, confrontational type would fix severe injuries at a cost of of the target's health (fixing a nearly dead character's broken leg might kill them).

Edited by Gurkog
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Grandiose statements, cryptic warnings, blind fanboyisim and an opinion that leaves no room for argument and will never be dissuaded. Welcome to the forums, you'll go far in this place my boy, you'll go far!

 

The people who are a part of the "Fallout Community" have been refined and distilled over time into glittering gems of hatred.

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Just taking the Baldur's Gate mod, Virtue, that was trying to put another spin on morality/social perception. I liked the idea that they split it into two: reputation and virtue... I have a feeling that as mentioned above, because there will be some kind of 'soul system', there may be a split similar to this.

 

I like when your actions have consequences within the game. Make someone too angry thru action or dialogue and they won't deal with you anymore, or having to choose sides in some faction/group conflict. And I do like it when having charisma or charm skills or even what I'm wearing (a uniform, badge) etc. can be influential in some way during a conversation/situation.

 

What I don't like, however, is when you're playing, say, a Thief, who successfully steals items when no one is looking ... and somehow everyone everywhere still automatically knows you've done wrong and your rep goes down or whatever. Or in terms of alignment in some games - the notion that everyone I meet will magically know what "alignment" I am upon first sight, before I've even opened my mouth, always feels a bit silly.

 

 

I really like this idea (and the uniforms, etc) in relation to reputation. Having an 'outer face' that can work well for more intelligent evil/selfish types as well as the virtuous, and then contrasting this with an inner 'soul' facet. Through 'strong soul' deeds such as standing up to injustice, not caving into cowardly actions, striving to prevent wrongdoing you can have a soul that gains extra powers... or perhaps these could be split a bit too, so that you can get an jaded or cynical kind of character whose soul strength then lies in 'mental powers' as they are best a being rational and logical.

 

Having 'evil' deeds that may be interesting or have their own rewards but corrupt your soul - perhaps making it weaker but also imbuing your soul with 'tainted powers' and abilities to corrupt others as well...

 

Hmm! Rambling as usual.

 

There could also maybe be a limit to how corrupted your soul gets before your reputation in certain factions/ with the general populace (ie citizens) declines regardless of how intelligent and how manipulative you can be, because the 'taint' starts affecting you too outwardly, perhaps damaging your charisma. Ie. characters can sense your corrupted soul or can see it in your eyes.

 

On the flip side, if you have a strong soul, through pure good deeds ,etc, than a more Paladin-esque soul ability like being able to detect/evaluate someone's soul would be an interesting ability and could help solving quests in another way to spying/coercion/errand-running ,etc. Call it 'Insight' or something?

 

I'm off on tangents again... :)

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In Dragon Age instead of a morality mechanic dictating your actions you have to answer to your party members for the things you do, unfortunately this has problems too. When conversing with Morrigan, for example, I often found myself redoing conversations with her so that i could get the highest influence possible. I would rather play a game where I can say what I want without being punished.

 

Personally I hate Dragon Age morality system. It is unrealistic in my opinion. In real life there are many other loyality factors than agreeing or not with person. I know many people with who I don't agree often but we still like each other. In DA we wolud be mortal enemies.

 

Avatar: I like Cheesburgers!

Morrigan doesn't likes you : -1

Avatar: WTF?

Morrigan doesn't likes you : -1

Avatar: Umm... I rape cats?

Morrigan likes you : +1

Rest of the party doesn't: -15

 

Also, I didn't like when in KOTOR II Handmaiden offended at me for Visas. She did not want to talk to me because she doesn't trust me anymore. Even after cutscene where she promised fidelity to me after I helped her. But that was rather bug/oversight, not intended, I think.

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How about no such system?

 

Scrap any kind of morality measurement meter, and just have your companions get butthurt over your choices. Best way to go.

In a world with soul magic, probably there will be detect alignment kind of spells, and I'm pretty sure there will be a morality system maybe similar to D&D

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The issue of a "morality system" and "companion relationship" counters are really two different questions -- one talks about how you actually are and one talks about what your companions think of you. I've fanatsized about quite complex systems in the past, involving 5 different measures, all independent:

 

* "Reputation": This is what the "general public" thinks of you (vs. the morality of the region that you are in -- likely "good")

* "Morality": This is what an omnicient diety would think of you, vs. his / her morality (almost certainly "good")

* "Likeability": On a per companion basis, this is how much the part member likes you. It goes up when you do things that they agree with without prompting, and down when you do things that they don't like.

* "Respect": On a per companion basis, this is how much the party member respects you. It goes up when you do things that they don't agree with, but you convince them it is the right thing to do -- it goes down when you start to do something that they don't like, but stop when they protest.

 

"Reputation" is what determines the prices you get / whether ot not the guards attack you / etc.

"Morality" is used to determine what power / abilities you are are offered, and (ideally) what dialog options / quests you see (if you aren't already dark, you can't see the "most dark" options, for example).

"Likeability" determines if a party member is loyal -- if they hate your guts, then they may leave, be less effective, or generally not be helpful.

"Respect" determines if a party member can be corrupted / redeemed (or otherwise changed -- for example, changing a class) -- if you can consistantly convince a companion to substitute your judgement in favor of their own, it is a short step to changing their judgement so that you agree.

 

With all of that being said, though, I don't think this system is a good fit for a "mass market" RPG -- it is probably more appropiate for something like a visual novel or "Choice of..." game. To make it work, you would end up branching each and every companion at least once, and possibly several times, and having to deal with all the potential combinations that might be in the party at one time (for banters / interjections). That's way, way, too much work unless the whole point of the game is a relationship simulator, and I don't think PE is going that far in favor of "deep companions"... :)

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The issue of a "morality system" and "companion relationship" counters are really two different questions -- one talks about how you actually are and one talks about what your companions think of you. I've fanatsized about quite complex systems in the past, involving 5 different measures, all independent:

 

* "Reputation": This is what the "general public" thinks of you (vs. the morality of the region that you are in -- likely "good")

* "Morality": This is what an omnicient diety would think of you, vs. his / her morality (almost certainly "good")

* "Likeability": On a per companion basis, this is how much the part member likes you. It goes up when you do things that they agree with without prompting, and down when you do things that they don't like.

* "Respect": On a per companion basis, this is how much the party member respects you. It goes up when you do things that they don't agree with, but you convince them it is the right thing to do -- it goes down when you start to do something that they don't like, but stop when they protest.

 

"Reputation" is what determines the prices you get / whether ot not the guards attack you / etc.

"Morality" is used to determine what power / abilities you are are offered, and (ideally) what dialog options / quests you see (if you aren't already dark, you can't see the "most dark" options, for example).

"Likeability" determines if a party member is loyal -- if they hate your guts, then they may leave, be less effective, or generally not be helpful.

"Respect" determines if a party member can be corrupted / redeemed (or otherwise changed -- for example, changing a class) -- if you can consistantly convince a companion to substitute your judgement in favor of their own, it is a short step to changing their judgement so that you agree.

 

With all of that being said, though, I don't think this system is a good fit for a "mass market" RPG -- it is probably more appropiate for something like a visual novel or "Choice of..." game. To make it work, you would end up branching each and every companion at least once, and possibly several times, and having to deal with all the potential combinations that might be in the party at one time (for banters / interjections). That's way, way, too much work unless the whole point of the game is a relationship simulator, and I don't think PE is going that far in favor of "deep companions"... :)

 

Aww... the forum tells me I've used up my quota of 'likes' for today... I should stop being so agreeable.

 

I like this suggestion you've had, and just to elaborate - the reputation should be national, regional and by faction too. Very complicated I guess but we can dream!

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