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So I Left the Guy Naked in the Adventurer's Hall...


Companion NPCs and their Items are Soon Parted?  

188 members have voted

  1. 1. Should NPC have their own money stock to buy with and items that they can use and sell?

    • NPC should have their own items to sell and use their own money
      62
    • NPC should be paper dolls I dress and undress.
      126
  2. 2. Should Companion NPCs demand a share of earnings and sometimes ask for pay?

    • NPCs should be glad I spend time with them and not ask for pay nor earnings.
      111
    • NPCs should have a share of earnings and occasionally be paid wages neither of which the player can dip their fingers into.
      77
  3. 3. Should Companion NPCs be able to give gifts and craft items on their own?

    • Yes, I'd love getting gifts from my companions
      127
    • No, it's too much work to ask of the developers. Let CNPC be avaricious and unthinking.
      61


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Remember Temple of Elemental Evil, where characters would take treasure directly out of the treasure pile as part of their earnings and share? Believe it or not some people feel it's ideal for NPC to insist on their fair share. Some players like NPC who seem willful, have special tactics in accordance with their personality, and even make their own purchases and sales.

 

It's tempting to want every aspect of a hired character or companion character in ones hands, but that grows stale and staid quickly. Furthermore, we end up with a bunch of naked ex-companions standing in a tavern because we looted them of everything they once held during their duty. After all, equipment resale is worthwhile and no one ever seems to comment that we've just stolen all their items and left them in their loincloths without money in the middle of a tavern.

 

It seems to me prudent to also have companions (but not hired characters) be able to craft items for party use with or without prompting and to give useful gifts from time to time.

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I'm just trying to imagine the general player reaction the first time a companion pushes them out of the way, takes their share of the gold, and claims an item with a simple, "I'm the only one in the party that can use it" excuse. It could even be funny, especially if such actions were accurately dictated by character personality. Still . . . I could see problems, and I could see players pulling their hair out.

 

Personally just imagining the player reactions to such a situation is amusing enough to make popcorn.

 

Probably won't happen though, not entirely sure it should, but it is funny to think about. ;)

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"Step away! She has brought truth and you condemn it? The arrogance!

You will not harm her, you will not harm her ever again!"

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I really only have an issue with this:

 

Should NPC have their own money stock to buy with and items that they can use and sell?

NPC should be paper dolls I dress and undress.

The other option is, I think, very hard to design. This requires your Companion to have an advanced AI, or you need to sit and tweak the AI beforehand etc. etc. "This is what you should buy Moron, not this!" etc. etc. I want full control

 

* I want my companions to even rob me off my money if they feel inclined to do so a la their personalities.

* With the above said, I'm totally down with sharing earnings with companions and think it's not more than right that I do.

* The Gift thing is an excellent awesome idea and I want to endorse it :) great mate

Edited by Osvir
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In principle yeah they should do all that, and when the companions have AI to do all that they should.

Maybe they should do all that now and it could be great, in some good NWN module (maybe The Prophet or Dreamcatcher)

the companion actually did stuff like that, "hey this is really neat sword, can I keep it, I want it"

and you'd be stunned (and gave the sword).

 

In ToEE, the companions ask for a share of loot, maybe a pick of magic items (one "only" wanted all the scrolls) AND they leech XP.

So I never used them, the greed stopped me. Maybe they were great.

( I did use a couple of high level non-humans I found at the deep temple).

 

In the AD&D gold box adventures you could hire an adventurrer from the guild to help you out. A bit expensive but effective.

Since we were a Lawful Good party we couldn't just murder him outright.

Letting him charge a horde of orcs all alone and then loot his corpse was fine though.

Full plate and a +1 sword, yay!

 

So, unless there's a real good AI making them act way more human than anything yet accomplished,

just make them my paperdoll slaves to use as I please.

Edited by Jarmo
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I think the note about the difficulty of the design is one of the most important points, Not saying it's impossible. We've seen semi-implementations of some of these elements to one extent or another, on their own, or in various combination, in a few games . . . but only to an extent and with . . . mixed results/reactions.

 

It's also a pointed thing, players do oft use their companions like you outline - paper dolls. I really don't know how a system, where the companions really were more of their own person, would come off to the majority. It's an interesting set of ideas but in terms of player acceptance and viability, as well as practically within time, money and manpower/effort constraints? I think I said it before, it just doesn't seem likely, regardless of how amusing it might sound in my head.

 

The image of a player's face as a formerly trusted companion knocks them over the head, steals everything of value, and runs off with the player character's love interest . . . is still very amusing though.

Edited by Umberlin
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"Step away! She has brought truth and you condemn it? The arrogance!

You will not harm her, you will not harm her ever again!"

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I like this idea and I think it would be pretty cool if done right. Perhaps making it an option like "willfull companions" in one of the more advanced modes would allow players that want the appearance of thinking companions with their own personality to enable it and players that want full control to disable it. Overall the concept is great and I'd like to see:

  • different companions insist on different percentages of the loot based on personality and perceived skills, though there should always be a "party warchest" percentage since the player will spend that on other party members.
  • Companions that want specific loot items - spells, a better sword, a shield; and while they shouldn't force the issue turning them down enough should create tension or a chance of them leaving the party.
  • Companions should never let you fully strip them of equipment and they should never let you stick them with worse gear than they joined you with, outside of plot points anyway. For instance I think at some point in BG1 there were magic immune creatures so you had to have mundane weapons to damage the spawns. For something like this you should obviously be able to equip a mundane weapon on an NPC but only as long as you don't remove an equivalent weapon to what yhou recruited them with from their inventory.

 

I'd like to see leveling up joinable NPC have a cost, and although NPC should be within a couple levels (+/-) of the Player Character when first mete they shouldn't magically gain XP in the Adventurers hall, or where ever they hang out, to always match the PC. They should gain some XP here and there as well as not always be available to give a semblance of having a live and adventuring career without the PC.

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I'm just trying to imagine the general player reaction the first time a companion pushes them out of the way, takes their share of the gold, and claims an item with a simple, "I'm the only one in the party that can use it" excuse. It could even be funny, especially if such actions were accurately dictated by character personality. Still . . . I could see problems, and I could see players pulling their hair out.

 

It'd be an interesting concept, to be sure, maybe tied together with a system like they have in Dungeons and Dragons Online where when you pick up loot everybody in the party gets "their own" stuff--basically the game auto-divides the loot drops. And then you could have a system where you can try to swap stuff with companions by either buying the item with cash or swapping them another item of similar value (this being tied to personality and various skills). It'd certainly make for interesting vendor visits as the companions offload various junk items (or, items they consider junk) and buy potions. You could even have personality oddities like one character being a pack rat who refuses to sell ANYTHING without prodding because they "might need it", while one is a miser who won't spend cash even on necessities like healing potions, while a third is perpetually buying useless trash. (This would definitely have to exist alongside a system where you don't have to constantly stock up on stuff like ammo, though, otherwise you'd be having a war with this AI every time you went in a shop and it would become UNBELIEVABLY annoying.)

 

This could actually be a really cool mechanic if the unique super-items always go to the PC for distribution, and you can get a ton of cred (or a lot of hate) from your companions depending on how you choose to distribute these throughout the party.

 

It could be an interesting sort of mini-game, but like all mini-games it has the potential to get Really Old, Really Quick. If I were designing a system like this, I'd want to put in a Bother All That Nonsense safety valve of some kind--maybe when you hit so much rep with a given companion, they stop arguing and let you manage their inventory/money directly. (Which, also, would be an excellent reward for going to the trouble of gaining rep with that companion.) Maybe after you give them that super-item they REALLY wanted, they stop hassling you. Maybe after they acquire a certain total amount of cash they stop caring. Or after you do their loyalty mission and they stop thinking of themselves as Your Hireling and more as Your Friend.

 

Done like that (in that the mini-game aspects hopefully only last as long as they're entertaining), this could potentially add a cool dimension to the game--it'd be another level of interactivity that could tie in with the story. Done just as a floating system without terminus, though, I'd rather stick with the Strip And Ditch method.

Edited by PsychoBlonde
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Oh, I'd love companions like that....at least, for most of the things. Giving them yet more of a sense of being "members of a team." I'd have no problem giving them some share of the gold I find, at least ... AI for them to loot/shop would be difficult, like the others mention, so I don't think that would happen in PE, at least. And I do like being able to choose what gear my party members wear, since that helps you build strategy re: your battles. But yes, it would be hilarious and frustrating at the same time. :lol:

 

Completely different genre, but in the RTS game Majesty, your hero units would collect their bounties (that you put on things you wanted them to do) then go into the shops and buy item upgrades (you had little/no control over it). It was great...you'd get attached to one particular Monk, Warrior, or Wizard or whatever because he'd have bought every upgrade or something. Fun stuff.

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Simple system to implement - do no allow cloting/weapons to be removed - only REPLACED with something is similar or greater value..

 

In other words, you can't strip them naked and leave them unarmed - you have to give them something usabl as a replacement.

 

And I'm all for party memebr to show interest and more personality. fF you came across a particually nice bow, the ranger might be "I call dibs on that one!".

* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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Heh, that one's *mine!*... I like the idea.

 

Got the drunk in your party, forget about stocking up on wine. Got the archer in your party, he'll sulk, complain and eventually leave if you give somebody else a better bow than his. The fashionista could lose combat skill and morale (depressed?) if not dressed in the latest regional fashion. Just silly examples, but the idea isn't bad. I mentioned "family heirlooms" a few weeks back in another thread. Would be nice if companions was something that was *theirs*. They don't need to have it equipped (so you can offer them better stuff), but they'll part with it over their permanently dead bodies.

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It'd certainly make for interesting vendor visits as the companions offload various junk items (or, items they consider junk) and buy potions. You could even have personality oddities like one character being a pack rat who refuses to sell ANYTHING without prodding because they "might need it", while one is a miser who won't spend cash even on necessities like healing potions, while a third is perpetually buying useless trash. (This would definitely have to exist alongside a system where you don't have to constantly stock up on stuff like ammo, though, otherwise you'd be having a war with this AI every time you went in a shop and it would become UNBELIEVABLY annoying.)

 

Not necessarily.

As long as the companions prioritize what they need and reserve room for it, it woldn't be a problem.

wouldn't be that hard to implement either.

Let's say 5 healing (or mana) potions and 2 stacks of arrows are a minimum stock a party member might mantain.

* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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Control freak that I am, I prefer having full control over the inventory of all my party members :p I do however think that making it so you can't take an item off someone (weapon and armour) and have to replace it instead is a good idea to at least stop NPCs being stripped completely (of course then you could just kill them/let them die... ).

 

The having their own share of the loot/gold... I'm not so fond of. I remember when I played ToEE years ago, I found out that the followers took some of your loot/gold... And I didn't take any of them. Just used my own 4 character party for the whole game. I understand the concept of wanting them to act more like people (it's a little similar to having them respond in combat to you yelling commands like NWN vs having full control of them like BG), I guess I just assume my party has some sort of agreement that they come to regarding these things.

 

Yes I take all the money and items. But I also distribute those items among everyone, and in the interests of making the whole party useful I will give them the best I can. I spend the gold on more equipment and staying at inns. It isn't as if I hoard all the gold and only spend it on my main character. I like to think of the way the player acts in distributing loot as kinda like the whole party acting and agreeing on who gets what (not just my character) without me actually having to see or put up with all the bickering that may be involved.

 

I mean what if you had it so this NPC is that class and so wants all items related to their class. And my character happens to be the same class as that NPC (let's say I want to try a party with two of the same class, or maybe I just like that NPC a lot), will the NPC still grab all of that item? I imagine my character wouldn't be too pleased about that. It's certainly a very interesting idea, it's just I imagine it would end up causing a lot of bickering in the party more than anything. Which kinda means a lot of pointless dialogue where I'm sitting there going 'NO, I want the giant marshmallow. You can have the gummy bear.' over a fair number of items.

 

I mentioned "family heirlooms" a few weeks back in another thread. Would be nice if companions was something that was *theirs*. They don't need to have it equipped (so you can offer them better stuff), but they'll part with it over their permanently dead bodies.

 

I like the idea of companions having some things that are theirs. It would be a way of letting them possibly have specific looks for their armour and the like too. Kinda like PS:T except perhaps it could let you take their special armour off (swapping for something else), but you had to keep it in their inventory. I think Valen in NWN:HotU had his own special armour and weapon as an example, and you could choose to keep him in that, or give him something else. And as an incentive to keep him in his own stuff I think it was upgradable at some point.

Edited by Shades
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In case you haven't notice chief, these are my teeth, This ceremonial Zerthimon armor is a symbol of a the Zerth, I will not part with it. Lines party members in Planescape was saying when TNO tried remove their default weapon or armor was such a great (and often funny) touch, which gave them extra bit of personality, because after all no matter how much I would like my boss there is just no way I'd let him take all my belongings and leave me in some tavern... naked and whatnot. I would so love to see this feature's return, also I liked behaviour of companions in Arcanum, who waited for main character only for a certain amount of time, before they left and headed back to their home destination, instead of fearless months long waiting in middle of wilderness.

Also some sort of mercenary follower who would tag along as long as he'd get paid would be nice idea, on the other hand how many players, would be willing to keep expensive party member instead of classical I-go-with-you-for-free because err you have err nice... blue...eyes? type

Edited by Ywerion

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For the most part I want it handled the way it was done in the BG series, and I voted as such. I'm not a fan of how you worded these poll questions, putting such a negative weight on the answers you don't agree with, but I do find it quite funny that in 2 of the 3 polls the "negative" ones are winning.

Edited by Jigawatts
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I'd like the developers to come up with reasonable explanations as to why the companions would accompany me on my quest. I don't want them just to be mercenaries I'd hire to fight for me. They should follow me out of lots of different reasons, friendship, honor, a debt to be paid, uneasy alliances for mutual benefit, whatever. I'd have no problem if one companion perhaps would be only in it for the money and demand to be paid but that should not be the general rule.

 

Also, i'd absolutely hate if it was done like in ToEE where "share of the loot" meant that the NPC would run up to every corpse I clicked and picked up whatever he liked (ie, random crap). It's been some time I played this game but, iirc, the first companion I hired cluttered up his inventory with rusty longswords and rough leather armors, stuff nobody in his right mind would even pick up, and became encumbered after the first fight. And all this useless stuff became undroppable after he picked it up. I mean, wtf were they thinking? Never hired companions after that.

 

That said, I would like it if companions would look out for their unique items a bit so you couldn't just sell Mazzy's Shortbow of Avoreen or whatever, like in BG2. They should be pissed if you tried that. It would also be cool if they called dibs on certain items you find, when it makes sense. You find something like Carsomyr, the Paladin in the party is going to want to have it. Find something like the Staff of the Magi and the mages in the party start to squabble over it. ANd after that is resolved and a character has the item, it would become something like their unique item that you couldn't just take away from them

Edited by Hugo Rune
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If AI programmer's have extra time, I'd rather they spent it tuning enemy combat behavior.

 

Demanding items/a fair share of party gold could make sense in a game where companions are generally more AI-driven. Apart from a few story-related conditions like saving Dynaheir in a timeframe acceptable to Minsc, the IE games put the player firmly in charge.

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The having their own share of the loot/gold... I'm not so fond of. I remember when I played ToEE years ago, I found out that the followers took some of your loot/gold... And I didn't take any of them. Just used my own 4 character party for the whole game. I understand the concept of wanting them to act more like people (it's a little similar to having them respond in combat to you yelling commands like NWN vs having full control of them like BG), I guess I just assume my party has some sort of agreement that they come to regarding these things.

 

The ToEE problem was that those NPCs wanted a HUGE amount of gold. Like half of it.

 

 

 

 

I mean what if you had it so this NPC is that class and so wants all items related to their class. And my character happens to be the same class as that NPC (let's say I want to try a party with two of the same class, or maybe I just like that NPC a lot), will the NPC still grab all of that item? I imagine my character wouldn't be too pleased about that. It's certainly a very interesting idea, it's just I imagine it would end up causing a lot of bickering in the party more than anything. Which kinda means a lot of pointless dialogue where I'm sitting there going 'NO, I want the giant marshmallow. You can have the gummy bear.' over a fair number of items.

 

Bickering? Isn't that how humans are like when it comes to shineys? I'd say it would really add to the atmosphere.

And with "class" equipment..distribute it if you share class.

* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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From the options here, I've chosen the alternatives that maximise the player's freedom, so I can customise the NPCs as I desire (and this makes more sense if you have a major hand in choosing their level-up skills and abilities over the course of the game - I won't really care if Duquesne has a longsword with his initials in it if I'm levelling him to wield a halberd. Right?).

 

That said, you can see why, for example, DA2 went and put NPC armour management beyond the player's reach. It's silly and immersion-breaking to strip NPCs bare and then abandon them, so some mechanic where they won't let you quit the screen unless they have some kind of armour and weapon might be a good move.

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Got the drunk in your party, forget about stocking up on wine. Got the archer in your party, he'll sulk, complain and eventually leave if you give somebody else a better bow than his. The fashionista could lose combat skill and morale (depressed?) if not dressed in the latest regional fashion. Just silly examples, but the idea isn't bad. I mentioned "family heirlooms" a few weeks back in another thread. Would be nice if companions was something that was *theirs*. They don't need to have it equipped (so you can offer them better stuff), but they'll part with it over their permanently dead bodies.

 

I like it. The game designers could also flag specific items throughout the game that are of particular interest to Adventurer Hall recruits. If the party finds one of those items, a member of the appropriate class would call dibs and claim it for him- or herself. Those items could precipitate background-related conversations that would add some color to the otherwise generic characters.

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Im with most of you guys, if you cant make a good sistem where the companion feel completly alive, ala in towns and stuff i cant control them and they are their own person, and i can iteract with them, talk to them, romance them, ask them to buy something or stop spending their money in buzz, etc. that could be fun.

 

But if cant do that, then give me my paper doll that i can do what ever i want with them.

 

in relation to the share loot, we are a party of adventures and every one should have their own invertory, with a weight sistem. But im the leader of the group so suck it. A conversation asking for special items for friendship points is ok.

 

And yes if they can make them as alive as posible then the better.

 

The things is you make the world feel alive with day and night cicles, NPCs with rutines and lives that make the game feel alive, and with Companions that are also alive that could be aweosme if not, give me total control.

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I actually liked how DA2 handled this. Companions had their own armor/clothing (which could be upgraded) and wouldn't wear something else. I like the idea that they keep some of their original identity and attire, but no control seems very limiting. I would say most of all companions have some items they won't part with, but in general you have control over there equipment.

 

Maybe adding that companions complain if you leave someone without any equipment at the adventurers hall (which is a really cheap trick).

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The first question is too loaded to answer accurately. The answer there would depend heavily on how effective the AI - which is to say, almost assuredly "paper doll" for maximum efficiency. There's a better compromise, one which is already used in numerous games (Fallout 3/NV, Skyrim, etc). The poster above me sort of agrees with me, but there's another step. That compromise is...

 

All companions (perhaps excluding custom-made) have their own, default equipment, which you can never take from them - it belongs to them. However, since you are paying their wage, presumably, and/or are leading the expedition, you have the right to give them different equipment, and order them to use that instead. That can be paper doll style, just by sticking it on them. They will only use their default gear when you haven't provided anything.

 

It's a clean and efficient way to handle it. You can't rob an NPC and leave him penniless and naked, and further the NPC can be geared up as well as you want without issue.

Edited by soulmata
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