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  1. 1. Should companion characters be killable by the player?

    • Yes, at any time.
      178
    • Yes, but only during specific conflict-driven scenes as part of the narrative.
      179
    • No, companions should not be killable.
      12


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Forgive me for adding to the poll clutter, but I'm curious to see people's opinions on this topic.

 

The RPGs of yesteryear often gave the player the freedom to express his or her displeasure with a companion NPC in a lethal way. If your paladin didn't like or trust Viconia or Edwin, you could rid yourself of them in a way that didn't simply involve telling them to sod off and thereby irresponsibly unleashing them to do who-knows-what to the general population. If your disagreement with Garfield Thelonius Remington III over which was the superior sort of tea turned venomous, likewise you could bring the issue to a murderous conclusion whenever you felt like it. While the player deciding to murder his comrades was not scripted, it did lend a sense of authenticity to one's roleplaying that you actually had the freedom to kill companions who you felt were fundamentally opposed to the ideology/interests/personality of your PC.

 

More recent RPGs typically only allow you to kill your companions during scripted scenes wherein the writers push a companion's themes to a dramatic incident, though even this is increasingly rare. While a scripted scene is certainly more entertaining than a simple personal justification for telling your PC to attack Yoshimo because you feel you shouldn't trust the blighter, it is nevertheless somewhat immersion breaking when you are forced to put up with a companion that your character would not suffer except for restrictive game mechanics. The likes of Anders is a good example; that characters intentions were clearly revolutionary from the beginning of the DA2 narrative, and yet even if your character disagrees with what Anders stands for, you are nevertheless forced to keep him around and only get the opportunity to deal with him after you've been railroaded to the crisis point. This is understandably frustrating. Dragon Age 2 is a good example of the general frustration here, because several of the companion characters in that game are polarized on the game's central issue, and it is extremely unlikely that any given player character is going to get along with all the companions he/she picks up in that game, yet still, once they are acquired, you are forced to endure them as a part of your character's life until you reach a specific crisis point at the end.

 

I think there's an argument to be made that companions represent a significant investment of time and writing for the writers, and that it is therefore understandable that writers want to tell a character's story and a end a character's life on their own terms. However, assuming that a character is not absolutely necessary for the continuation of the main plot (which I don't think should be the case for the overwhelming majority of companion characters, but that's a different discussion), I think it should be up the player to decide whether or not they care to see a specific companion's story to conclusion, and to give them the freedom of killing a companion if they feel that saying "take a hike, you scoundrel!" isn't good enough for their personal character narrative.

 

Obsidian have said that they won't force companions on the player in P:E, but I hope that doesn't just mean "you can tell them to go away". Deciding how your character feels about people and how he or she chooses to deal with them is an important part of roleplaying, and in a violent world this will often involve violent solutions. So considering the general retro vibe Obsidian is going for, I'd like to see a return to the days when I could just whack Anomen with a mace whenever I felt like it and decide for myself how my character justifies the action.

 

Thoughts?

Edited by Sarog
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I want to kill everyone in the whole game world if it suits my mood.

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"only when you no-life you can exist forever, because what does not live cannot die."

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But what would a companion do if you killed them, and then resurrected them?

 

"Oh hey, you just killed me, but you brought me back so it's all good, let's go kill some orcs!"

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I chose "Yes, but only during specific conflict-driven scenes as part of the narrative."

 

I don't like the concept of companions dying in general combat, it's actually one of the newer RPG elements I prefer. Many would say it's one of many "dumbed down" features, but I personally think it was one of the few good factors to come out of more modern RPGs. I've come to prefer the incapacitated model rather than the death model, especially in the likes of Baldur's Gate when you can suddenly come across something that can level-drain your companions out of nowhere to the point of death in only a few seconds sometimes.

 

Personally, I liked Dragon Age: Origins' wound system. It gave you incentive to keep companions alive, while still punishing you for mistakes, but not too much so.

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What should the other companions do if you decide to kill one of them?

"Oh dear, the boss seems to be crazy. Oh well, nobody's perfect."

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In BG I nearly always killed Imoen, because I really hated her one liners. So I want same option in Project Eternity too, if my copanions hit my (character) nerve they may die by fireball thrown in one second rage :).

Edited by Elerond

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I think if you went around killing companions whenever you wanted, it wouldn't do well for the morale of the remaining companions. Machievelli did say that it was better to be feared than loved, but also warned about becoming hated.

 

I think the BG system of 'hey, let's split up now but maybe join up again later' or 'don't let the door hit you in the backside on the way out' is enough. Technically you could also kill them at any point, but you could just revive them again and there wasn't any gameplay impact. (although it was the easiest way to break up the Khalid/Jaheira and Minsc/Dynaheir pairs)

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Personally, I liked Dragon Age: Origins' wound system. It gave you incentive to keep companions alive, while still punishing you for mistakes, but not too much so.

DAO:s wound system was pathethic. I can't think of a single time I felt punished by it. Chug a potion and it was gone. Later, you could just throw a spell and oh, look, everyone is fine again.

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In BG I nearly always killed Imoen, because I really hated her one liners. So I want same option in Project Eternity too, if my copanions hit my (character) nerve they may die by fireball thrown in one second rage :).

Aerie is far more annoying.

Edited by Crosmando

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This topic scratches the surface of some bigger issues I have with video games and their characters in general. Characters that serve as some kind important plot device and are thus invincible -- not to mention the game will favor the player who makes room for this plot device character, sometimes even to the point of being considerate enough to stick them into the party without the player's consent at all -- are just frustrating.

The option for companions to die, whether the player kills them on their own volition or an action the player took earlier -- or didn't take -- will inadvertently cause a companion to die, should most definitely be there.

But if a player chooses to off a character there should be repercussions, especially from the other characters. Unless they didn't like the guy you knifed in the back anyways.

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I liked Arcanum's system whereby you could kill anyone, but if you attacked or killed an innocent you would get opinion penalties with your more moral party members. You could kill a couple of people and still have your companions follow you, albeit with much worse morale, and if you went too far with it they would abandon you. That is a fairly simple fix to the morale issue, and I think it handles it well. If your character is charismatic/convincing enough, it is sensible that you'd be able to convince your followers to put up with your decisions, up until a point.

Edited by Sarog
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This aspect should reflect exactly what it looks like in real life: your character wants to go on a psychotic rage, so be it.

 

I am totally against "plot-immortality" and "plot-armour". You want to make a character unkillable - simply make him absurdly strong.

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Where's "Yes, but there should be consequences" ("You killed Dynaheir? Mins unlesh his BERZERKER STENGHH ON UU--")?

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Let us kill anyone and anything (let it at least be possible, even though some things would be difficult of course) even to the point of killing important quest NPC's. And yes, I am serious.

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Where's "Yes, but there should be consequences" ("You killed Dynaheir? Mins unlesh his BERZERKER STENGHH ON UU--")?

 

If you want consequences for choosing to kill companions, it is still necessary that you have that choice to begin with. I'm sure everyone who wants this particular freedom would like it to have some intelligent consequences, through morale/opinion/reputation penalties or whatever mechanics Obsidian uses to track your relationships with companions and society. So long as the choice is there.

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In BG I nearly always killed Imoen, because I really hated her one liners. So I want same option in Project Eternity too, if my copanions hit my (character) nerve they may die by fireball thrown in one second rage :).

Aerie is far more annoying.

 

But Aerie will eventually sleep with you if you put up with her annoyance.

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If you want consequences for choosing to kill companions, it is still necessary that you have that choice to begin with.

Fair enough, voted 1.

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Hum... For a better RP, compagnion must be killable all the time, but I want to see drama, tears and unforgetable dialogs who led to their bloody death... So, I vote for the 2nd option.


Dark Goddess of the Obsidian Order.

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In BG I nearly always killed Imoen, because I really hated her one liners. So I want same option in Project Eternity too, if my copanions hit my (character) nerve they may die by fireball thrown in one second rage :).

Aerie is far more annoying.

 

She is not as bad if you listen her in spanish :)

 

 

But this has caused me so many nightmares that Imoen must die, die I say :D.

 

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I should always be able to kill anyone, not just companions. Companions aren't forced on the player anyways, so it would be weird to not have the option of killing them without having to go through some dialog or quest.

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Consequences make RPGs good. Consequences need choices. Artificially removing an expected choice from an RPG makes that RPG less good.


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Heh, in a perfect world, having every single companion (a fully fledged one, not just another character created by the player, like in the Icewind Dale series) killable would be perfect, but I'm not sure they have the time or budget to do that.

 

If killing a companion means more than a "forced attack" (combat mechanic) on him/her, you would need motivation for that, which means dialogue options, the possibility of partially altering the companion side-story; then, you have to take into account party size vs. the world when it comes to encounters (or, you can leave this last aspect unchanged, so that the player knows in advance that killing a couple of companions would mean having a VERY hard time during the subsequent fights).


"The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance" - Wing Commander IV

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But what would a companion do if you killed them, and then resurrected them?

 

"Oh hey, you just killed me, but you brought me back so it's all good, let's go kill some orcs!"

 

You shouldn't be able to resurrect companions.


"only when you no-life you can exist forever, because what does not live cannot die."

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