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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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It depends how structured NPC interaction is generally in the game. If you can kill any NPC in the game at any time, then I don't expect companions to be immune. If, on the other hand, it's more like the Dragon Age, Mass Effect, or Neverwinter Nights games where attacking NPCs is limited specifically to predetermined combat scenarios or random encounters, than I figure companions should be immune except for when natural fissures emerge in the party (essentially, story or relationship-related reasons).

"Understanding is a three-edged blade."

"Vivis sperandum: Where there is life, there is hope."

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If, on the other hand, it's more like the Dragon Age, Mass Effect, or Neverwinter Nights games where attacking NPCs is limited specifically to predetermined combat scenarios or random encounters, than I figure companions should be immune except for when natural fissures emerge in the party (essentially, story or relationship-related reasons).

 

This is probably its own conversation, but I'm of the view that this sort of approach sucks. Those games, Dragon Age 2 especially, rather gave me the sensation of wearing a straight jacket. Not being able to interact with npcs who haven't been given scripted events can be frustrating.

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I think all characters should be subject to killing, even ones that may be important to a plot.

 

It's about choice and consequence. If you kill a character who is central to a plot, maybe you lose out on that whole quest line. Or maybe you suddenly make your chances of defeating the final boss that much more difficult because the character you just killed had vital information about the end boss' strengths and weaknesses that is no longer available to you.

 

So I do think all characters (including companions) should be killable at any time, but there should be noticeable consequences for doing so. This will act as a deterrent to people just going around mass murdering everyone without anything bad happening in return.

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I'd like to vote for something between option one or two. If it is possible to kill a companion any time, or at least try to kill them, it should trigger a conflict-driven scene which varies depending on a range of factors (e.g. their personality, where you are in the plot, what you know about them, what they know about you, etc). They may demand to know why you are trying to kill them, fight you, try to get away without fighting, or what-have-you. The event should impact other characters who are aware of it and care about you, the companion in question, and/or the morality of anyone involved (or general morality of killing).

 

That scene would make sense if I attack them frontal. But what about if I take them by surprise or sneak up on them?

If they're the kind of character that would sense a sneak attack, they would get a chance to defend themselves; there might be breaks in combat where they confront you. If they're not, and you get the better of them, there could be a conversation as they die.

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Kill the bastards I say. I hate forced companions and games like Bioware's latest have been atrocious in this department. DA2 and TOR spring to mind as examples. Luckily old school IE games allowed us to kill companions we hated, or at least get them killed and leave them that way. Companion death needs to be an option, regardless of how it happens. I have faith that Obsidian will keep this feature.

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I'm all for allowing companions to be killed, but in regular combat it was just an annoyance. "Oh, he died, let me just reload that save," or "great, now I got to go to the temple and resurrect him." I could try and force myself to leave them dead, but if I liked them and wanted them around, it just wasn't worth it. And resurrecting them really cheapened death.

 

If I want to kill my companions I should get the option to fight them to the death, but other than that, narrative deaths have more meaning than random combat casualty.

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If, on the other hand, it's more like the Dragon Age, Mass Effect, or Neverwinter Nights games where attacking NPCs is limited specifically to predetermined combat scenarios or random encounters, than I figure companions should be immune except for when natural fissures emerge in the party (essentially, story or relationship-related reasons).

 

This is probably its own conversation, but I'm of the view that this sort of approach sucks. Those games, Dragon Age 2 especially, rather gave me the sensation of wearing a straight jacket. Not being able to interact with npcs who haven't been given scripted events can be frustrating.

 

I more or less agree: I'd prefer if every NPC was expendable. But that does become an issue when writing the game, since it means you have to account for any number of potential issues that the players might cause by inadvertently killing someone. In traditional P&P that's not so much an issue because the GM can come up with something new on the fly but Obsidian can't do that; they have to anticipate player actions in advance, which is much harder.

 

It's not impossible, I'll grant you, and a lot of games do have that as a feature. But I can definitely see why non-essential companions and plot NPCs aren't universal and why Obsidian might not include them in their own game, even if it is my personal preference.

"Understanding is a three-edged blade."

"Vivis sperandum: Where there is life, there is hope."

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You should be allowed to kill them, but with serious consequences, like reputation hit, or changing attitude of the rest of the party towards you. But what about companion, which would play some role in the story? This makes me wonder, what happened if you killed Yoshimo in BG2?

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There should be real penalties for stuff like that though.

 

Like in the early Ultimas, you could kill or steal in a town, but then all the guards would get mad at you and attack. And then you could kill them (if you were powerful enough). Of course, that kind of bad behavior led to Ultima IV, where you instead played a paragon of virtue...

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I feel like a player should be able to kill accompanying NPCs at any time, but that this should not necessarily be catered to by the devs. Sure you killed a party member. You leave their body on the side of the road. End of story. Congratulations. Would be cool if other party members reacted to these actions but at the same time probably to difficult to account for all the variances realistically and therefore best to leave to the player's own mind to roleplay it. Plus i'm not sure it would be that fun writing dialogue to account for a psychotic PC butchering his own party members.

 

It would be quite interesting to see how the game would branch based on different NPCs dying, but I feel like such a thing would be too infinitesimally varied to allow for properly. Having particular moments where you can kill party members if done right are also awesome, this should not preclude your ability to leave them dead on the side of the road (even if this means not all players will witness the content).

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You should be allowed to kill them, but with serious consequences, like reputation hit, or changing attitude of the rest of the party towards you. But what about companion, which would play some role in the story? This makes me wonder, what happened if you killed Yoshimo in BG2?

Somehow, his curse could have been passed on to you and you'd be forced to betray yourself! Bwuahahaha!

 

...or something. *sheepish look*

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Why would you want to kill them whenever you like?

 

You wouldn't kill your friends just out of fun or "to see what happens" - only if they betrayed you in an unforgiveable way...or fight back when YOU betrayed THEM in an unforgiveable way.

 

So, my vote for: "only in plot-driving conflicts/events".

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I'm okay if its just in scripted events but I would prefer it if we could kill them at any time.

 

Give us incentive not to kill them though.

 

And I don't mean incentive that takes away the incentive of making a playthrough where you just kill everyone and be a complete ****. I just did a playthrough of Fallout: New Vegas where I just went around the Mojave Wasteland as a psychopathic whirlwind of death.

 

I think that the possibility of only being able to kill them in scripted events is higher for Project Eternity because there are only 5 companions (and I'm happy with that limit btw.) But we'll see I guess.

Edited by Halberd
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Why would you want to kill them whenever you like?

 

You wouldn't kill your friends just out of fun or "to see what happens" - only if they betrayed you in an unforgiveable way...or fight back when YOU betrayed THEM in an unforgiveable way.

 

So, my vote for: "only in plot-driving conflicts/events".

That's all very well, but it depends on how the plot is written.

 

What I would most want to avoid would be something like the "Goddamnit, Anders!" moment towards the end of Dragon Age 2. The kind of thing he's trying to do is obvious, if you pay much attention at all, but you are powerless to do anything about it even if it would make sense for your character to try and stop him. I understand that it's a fine balance between foreshadowing and making totally obvious - of course writers don't want to make these things come out of nowhere - but I would argue that if we cannot stop these kinds of actions on the part of our companions then at least we need to have had little to no way of knowing what they would do.

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the "Goddamnit, Anders!" moment towards the end of Dragon Age 2.

 

I find it interesting that you guessed what I was refering to. :)

Actually, I was talking more about DA:O than the abysmal DA2, but basically you are right:It depends on the plot.

 

But then again: If some of your companions turn rogue and you are forced to kill him in the course of a conflict event....but chose to kill him silently some time earlier because you have the free choice to do so, then you could corrupt much of the game's story.

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I find it interesting that you guessed what I was refering to. :)

Haha, really? Brilliant! :D

 

Actually, I was talking more about DA:O than the abysmal DA2, but basically you are right:It depends on the plot.

 

But then again: If some of your companions turn rogue and you are forced to kill him in the course of a conflict event....but chose to kill him silently some time earlier because you have the free choice to do so, then you could corrupt much of the game's story.

I agree about this. That's why I think it would need to be considered carefully by the writers from the outset: what would be the consequences of the death of each companion, and could the plot continue without them? Perhaps the plot could carry on, but in a slightly different way. If not, then the character would have to be such that they would be able to defend themselves against the attack and escape... or maybe take the PC prisoner and have the attack start off a whole alternate way of reaching a later point in the plot. :)

 

The truth is, branching plots are expensive resource-wise... but this is *far* more the case in a game that requires full voice acting and extensive art development for every area the player will see. In a game where most dialogue will be text only and the areas are hand-painted but don't need a huge slew of the things that go into modern AAA game areas as standard, there's much more room for genuinely branching plot. Of course, it would have to be prototyped first - say, in the engine's conversation editor, where narrative paths would be used in place of conversation lines and one could see there how difficult or easy it would be to branch things back together - but it could at least be attempted.

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What you're talking about son, IS MURDER!

 

I don't think the choice of who gets to live and who dies should be limited by what the developers or the software restraints itself with. IMO every npc and character should be killable. How you go about that is entirerly different. I'm not at all in favor of 'friendly fire'. Nothing would disapoint me more if a stray fireball that I hurl accidently hits my paladin in the back and kills him (granted if I could hurl fireballs and my companion was a paladin) But I don't think it should be something as simple as a dialogue option either, like "I don't like your views on the current crisis, my compadre. WATCH ME TUMBLE!"

 

Personally I would prefere the option to kill one of you're companions be a lot more meticulous, more machiavellian. So instead of just clobering them over the head in cold blood, you could, instead, have the option to stir up one companion against another and hope that if they got in a fight the one you dislike would die or be wounded enough for you to easily finish them of and brand it as punishment so it was more or less over looked by your other companions.

 

Or if one of your party member has a lot of one liners that were really annoying, like a few people pointed out before, you wouldn't necessarily have to kill them (and lose a valuable companion). Instead you could hatch a much more devious plan and say, "hey i found this needle and thread in my last quest exploit, i'll poison the b**** with my sleeping poiton from earlier and then sow her lips shut" ...no more one liners! (the obvious consequence being that if magic required verbal incantations you would probably put this character out of action.) Way more satisfying than just wacking their head in.

 

That all being said though, if you did make your companions killable, I think you would need a lot more than 5 companions avalable in game, the loses would out way the gains far to much when your only looking at a miniscuel 5 options, one of each class (ie, warrior, mage etc).

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Ice, Ice, Icicle...

Test, Test, Testing!

 

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Heya, it's me Andy Warhol.

 

I think it's only right and proper to want to kill, but maybe story-based NPC should not be easily killed. If you don't like the story around them, kick them out of the group. I kept Anders at arms length throughout DA2. I didn't like the Jowan clone to begin with, I thought they should've used Jowan and made Jowan more likely to live.

 

In any case, maybe there should be two types of NPC, story NPCs and hirelings/henchmen.

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Since the game is supposed to be playable without any companions at all, I don't see how killing them could be much of a game breaker. And the 2nd option in the poll requires either a lack of friendly fire (and mind control spells) or some "sit down and cry for a minute instead of dying" combat mechanic... both things I rather dislike.

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You should be allowed to kill them, but with serious consequences, like reputation hit, or changing attitude of the rest of the party towards you. But what about companion, which would play some role in the story? This makes me wonder, what happened if you killed Yoshimo in BG2?

 

Nothing. The story would progress in the same way, absent of Yoshimo. Which I think is the right approach here. Companions will obviously have their awesome, scripted stories and role in the game. But give the player the option of foregoing that if killing the character earlier fits one's personal roleplaying narrative.

 

I feel like a player should be able to kill accompanying NPCs at any time, but that this should not necessarily be catered to by the devs. Sure you killed a party member. You leave their body on the side of the road. End of story. Congratulations. Would be cool if other party members reacted to these actions but at the same time probably to difficult to account for all the variances realistically and therefore best to leave to the player's own mind to roleplay it. Plus i'm not sure it would be that fun writing dialogue to account for a psychotic PC butchering his own party members.

 

It doesn't have to be accounted for. While the ideal RPG might react to every little thing we do in an intelligent way like a DM consciousness, no one expects that. The writers should concern themselves with their own scripted narrative and events and not have to try to predict everything we might do and account for it. You don't need scripting for decisions that you reason through on your own initiative, because these fall under your own personal narrative that is unique to you, but walks hand in hand with the game narrative. Allowing that personal narrative some freedom by giving the players the ability to exercise small displays of free will without being constrained by the narrower confines of the scripted narrative would resolve a great deal of the frustration caused in other recent RPGs.

 

If you can, within your own mind / your character's own mind, decide that 1) this companion is bad news for reasons X, Y, Z, 2) conclude that simply telling this companion to take a hike is unsatisfactory for reasons A, B, C, and then 3) kill this companion as the conclusion of this personal roleplaying progression, then all the game needs to do to cap off the experience is to slap some appropriate reputation penalty on you and let you get on with it.

 

Having this sort of freedom was a source of great roleplaying satisfaction to me in the old RPGs, and I think that allowing such small freedoms makes a major difference in allowing you to feel like you actually have some agency in the world and aren't just being dragged along for a theme park ride in a straightjacket.

 

Why would you want to kill them whenever you like?

 

You wouldn't kill your friends just out of fun or "to see what happens" - only if they betrayed you in an unforgiveable way...or fight back when YOU betrayed THEM in an unforgiveable way.

 

So, my vote for: "only in plot-driving conflicts/events".

 

Ah, but let a player decide how he feels about his companions and act appropriately.

 

A companion is not automatically your friend. A companion becomes your friend in the moment that you decide that you like and value its companionship. Deciding that you despise the companion is perfectly legitimate; companions being hirelings, rivals, or allies of convenience is common enough. That's just good roleplaying.

 

To again use DA2 as an example of companions done thoroughly wrong... in that game, you are forced to have these decade-long relationships with this group of people. But because the game encourages you to take a stand on its central narrative issue, and because several of these companions have polarized stances on said issue, it is rather inevitable that any given player character with a properly formed identity is going to despise at least one or two or three of these companions. And yet, you are forced to accept these people as a long term part of your life.

 

The old RPGs didn't attach you to companions by some unbreakable celestial umbilical cord. They let you choose which companions you valued and wanted to keep with you, and they let you deal with the ones that you didn't however you wished. Only in rare cases did plot armour and railroads force you to suffer a companion, such as with Imoen's role in the BG2 plot, but even then the plot armour was temporary.

 

To go back the example of Korgan Bloodaxe, or Edwin or Viconia... these were evil companions whose relationships with the player character weren't a simple matter of friendship, but based on personal interests. They were awesome characters, but if you were playing a good character it was entirely legitimate to dislike and distrust them. Having the freedom to kill them, rather than just giving them the boot and unleashing them on the world, was a meaningful option if you were playing the sort of character who would be so violently direct. Likewise, if you were playing an evil character you could kill the moralizing characters who you feared might one day pose a threat to you.

 

There is a lot to be said for allowing players to make up their own mind regarding how they feel about a character, and giving them the freedom to act on that. Roleplaying in a cRPG can be, and has been in the past, so much deeper than narrowly interacting with scripted events.

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You should be able to attack them, but the rest of the party should react somewhat realistically to this and not just stand there watching you murder a friend unless they're all a bunch of CE psychopaths. If your party is something similar to Imoen-Khalidn-Jaheira-Minsc-Dynaheir, murdering any one of them should result in the rest of them attacking you unless it's a friendly-fire accident in combat.

 

Edit: Preferably the game shouldn't be so forgiving of psycho-murdering characters as past games, like fallout 2 were killing an innocent is completely forgiven as long as you murder a couple of 'bad' people as well. With the effect that if you travel to the wasteland killing everyone you meet you get net-possitive karma. Really I don't think killing people (even other killers) should net you a possitive reputation beyond being feared except for maybe a handfull of true monsters.

Edited by limaxophobiacq
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