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Killing all NPCs

Do you want to be able to kill ANY npc?  

272 members have voted

  1. 1. What NPCs would you like to be able to kill?

    • Town Vendors
    • Townfolk
    • Main plot essential NPCs
    • Side quest essential NPCs
    • Your own party members
    • Friendly NPCs in the wild or on the road
  2. 2. When do you want the game to notify you you're going to kill someone essential?

    • Never! It's a risk I take by going all crazy and killing.
    • Only if they are essential to the main plot.
    • Don't warn me, but just knock them out! (Main only)
    • If they are essential to the main or side quests.
    • Don't warn me, but just knock them out! (Main and side quests)
    • Warn me before every friendly NPC I attack that it's a criminal action.
    • Don't let us attack friendly NPCs at all!
    • This poll is dumb.

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I don't think they intend to have NPCs be essential. While it sounds like a challenge for development, they've done it before in previous games.


I should be able to kill anyone who I have a reason to kill. If they send me on a stupid quest, I should get to kill them. If I think they're a terrible person and the setting would be better off without them, I should get to kill them. Regardless of any other status they may hold.

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"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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I've honestly no idea what to vote for. While I definitely want the game to be 'realistic' in regard that I don't want to meet arbitrarily immortal characters, I don't want poor AI to wade into an AoE and die, and neither do I want to escape without consequences after committing a genocide. I definitely would like to see at least one instance where I can see past a side-quest giver (or any other NPC for that matter) trying to screw me over. I loathe encounters with NPCs that 'lure' me into a painfully obvious trap, and then gloat and boast about how clever they are.


I would like to be able to kill anyone, but that shouldn't be a simple mortality flag, script-wise, to prevent them from dying mid-combat from someone else. Watching my party's survivability will be challenging enough, I imagine. In this case, a 'knocked out' condition would be best, I think. If it's an actual escort affair, like "protect this guy while he closes the portal", and he dies either from me, one of my companions or an enemy, it could prolong the quest by having you seek an alternative way to close the portal, but that's probably asking too much and is off-topic.


Another problem is that my immersion is shattered if I attack innocents in a town, fight guards, defeat guards, and then the state of the town's hostility towards me is reset. There are very few workarounds this issue. To that end, maybe introduce initially locked paths through the big cities, and they unlock once you are in bad standing with a city? Kind of like nosferatu having to traverse sewers in VTMB. Maybe Big City #2 could be a Vailian city, or an otherwise darkly themed city that has loose laws and murder isn't frowned down upon as much.


Long story short, the more mortal people, the better, but also the more mortal people, the more developmental problems.

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I'm going to draw two games from recent memory, Skyrim and Dragon Age 2. They will give me four examples that contrast good handling of the situation and bad handling. And they're recent enough that I can be intimately familiar with why.


In Skyrim you get a quest. Not to spoil the quest, but it eventually leads to you being imprisoned in a mine for a crime you probably didn't commit. You eventually break out and, if in the course of breaking out, you can kill a particular guy. Afterwards, a different guy, the one who framed you and sent you into that hole shows up to thank you. You can kill this guy. You probably should. If he lives to see the next morning, I would view you as less of a person/Khajit/Lizard/wahtever. This was great.


Then there's the Thieves Guild in Skyrim. Eventually the main quest will introduce you to them. Even if not, I don't think that would be really better. The first thing they have you do is frame someone. No real understanding as to why. If you do go and join them, you find out there's no real redeeming character to the group. They rough up shopkeepers, put out contracts with the dark brotherhood, they're thugs for the most part. So say you get offended at the thought of them asking you to frame a possibly innocent shopkeeper. Or you get offended at the idea of harassing and threatening other shopkeepers. Maybe you just hate the crime in general and want to protect everyone from it with the sort of stabby voodoo that you do so well. Too bad. Every last member of the Thieve's guild, or at least the ones in the tavern area who have names, are unkillable. Crime goes unpunished because of designer fiat. And it made me sad.


Okay, so say that you're in Skyrim still. Maybe you're doing Dark Brotherhood quests. Perhaps you take on a persona of a cold blooded killer with honor and dignity. You get sent on a quest. The person wants you to kill an ex-boyfriend that embarrassed her in front of her friends. He made her friends think she was a terrible person. Also, she'd like you to kill her friend for daring to think she was a terrible person. Wait, what? This is some serious nonsense here. I think the lady's friend might have a point. And for even daring suggest such a ridiculous idea, the quest giver should be killed outright. She's not really a threat to anyone. She's a barmaid that's as dumb as a sack of doorknobs. But her mere existence offended me at this point. Therefore, she died. Yay.


Now for the worst of the worst. Dragon Age 2. The game is completely filled with offensive individuals who wrong you or others that then nonchalantly strut off in a cutscene while you're impotent of the ability to charge them down and use their insides as floor paint. But none struck me as worse than Meredith. You hear pretty much the entire game about how terrible her and her Templars are. How they oppress mages, how she's not strictly mentally sound. You may even be a mage yourself and sympathetic to her opposition. Well, at one point in the game, you get invited to meet her. You go to her office, where she is alone, and this scenario for some reason does not turn into a cagematch to the death. And it annoyed me to utterly no end. Can't attack her, can't kill her. No annoying cutscene protection that can be loosely justified as the PC being dumbstruck by the sheer bloody gall of this individual to continue breathing. Just two people who hate each others guts standing around and not following the natural course of events because it would be too far off script.


The two examples that did let me kill the person in need of some vigorously applied violence made me enjoy the game more. They let me feel that I owned my character and that I could make a positive impact on the game world. The two examples that did not made me annoyed at how the writer thought their script was more important than choices and PC characterization. And that's almost enough to make me want to quit those games.

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"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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Anyone should be killable with the exception of gods maybe. If you want to kill a main quest npc you can do so... You wont be able to continue with the main quest because well... You cant find / talk to the dead guy (unless they have some kind of raise dead spell (that would be cool by the way)). If you kill everyone you should have to live with the consequence that you wont be able to continue with the story.


No immortal characters with the exception of gods (depending on how they are made)

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I would love to be able to kill everything, there could even be quests tied to this.


Say you kill a child in a city without being detected, the next days the town folk would be chatting about the child murder, kill some more and the militia gets involved in a search for this serial child murderer. They might even offer a reward for this killer, this is where you come in and plants evidence on some unsuspecting innocent man and reap the rewards, or you can get caught and thrown in to jail to be executed.


I would love to see things like this happening instead of just 50 guards showing up to kill you when you 'accidentally' decapitates an annoying kid.

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I really dislike having artificial restrictions like making a character essential.

I can to some extend see the point with plot critical characters as that helps keep the game flowing, but honestly if a player wants to mess up their game they should. If anything just notify them that they have just broken the main storyline and thus cannot complete the game so they do not discover it after having played another 15 hours.


Then there's the bad examples of essential characters, dragon age 2 has already been brought up so I will take Fallout 3 instead.

There they had made every single child essential. It does not make it better that the probably most offensive character in the game is MacCready, the child mayor of Little lamplight. Personally I did not even know children was essential, neither had I planned in any way to find out, until he provoked me to the point where I wanted to melt his face off with my flamer.

I so prefer the solution in the previous fallout games that solved the problem of child killing with the childkiller perk and the connected mechanics.



In the end they could just bring Biff the understudy back if they need a stand-in for a plot-essential characters ;)

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What Fade said, sometimes it's just necessary to simply whack someone who may or may not deserve said whacking. Still amazed they even let me cut Vivec to pieces back then. Need to make sure important NPCs are not killed by random monsters this time though, damn cliff racers broke more than one quest for me in Morrowind.


And I prefer getting a warning when someone really important dies, hidden game overs where you search half the world for some guy who is no longer there are just mean imho.

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You guys are being pretty ridiculus here. Why in the world would you not want to be notified when you kill an important char? I would be MAJORLY PISSED if I found out, that my 20h gamesave is now worthless, because I didn't have a magical crystal to tell which NPC are killable and which aren't. This means, that to be safe I can not kill ANYONE who wasn't specified to die in a quest. That is horrible game design, because I need to live inside the narrow box the developer provides me. This stunts roleplaying, freedom and will lead to a ****load of frustration.


On another note: I want every "non.deadly-hostile" NPC to be knocked unconcious instead of killed, so that you can loot his inventory and will be pissed (or won't if he doesn't care) and maybe won't give me a quest anymore.


Btw.: A good way of discouraging players from killing everyone is to give 1 person multiple quests which get unlocked over time or just let them comment on stuff that happens around the world so they stay interesting and aren't only questmashines.


Oh btw of corse everyone, who isn't supposed to be immortal story wise is mortal, that is a complete no brainer. It's a modern game disease to have nonkillable NPCs who aren't mainplot relevant. Really, really stunting roleplay.


An argument for completely immortal main characters is, that they might be killed by monsters and such. Just something to think about. I think either solution (immortal or message) is fine.

Edited by harhar!
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I feel that all NPCs as well as other PCs should be theoretically killable. Some of them, surely, I would expect to be too powerful to kill for at least the majority of the game, but I think it's best if you are able to try. Not only do I like having the option to attempt to kill any NPC that I feel my character would attempt to kill, but I also enjoy the possibility of friendly fire. It makes me think more carefully about aiming spells and such in crowded areas, and I dislike the artificial way it feels to me if you drop a fireball in a crowded room but only the enemies are injured.


I do think that being warned if the NPC you just killed is critical to the main plot is nice and could save some frustration down the road. I don't see any downsides to the warning, since if it's your tenth time playing through the game and you just really want to kill that guy, you already know what's going to happen and you can just ignore the warning.


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if your goal is to kill everything that moves and can't climb a tree, they could add the genocide goal, given to you if you clear the entire population of a town, and equal to the xp of the quests in the town. however you only get it after you killed all guards, civilians, animals, and reinforcements sent to the town and only if you have not done any quest in the town. obviously, since you take the xp at the end of it all, if you start the fight at lv1, you will have to finish it at lv1... no level increases during the process to make it easier.

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I don't understand the puerile fixation with being able to kill everything in sight. Loosing a fireball in the town square and toasting 3 dozen people accomplishes precisely nothing unless, of course, you're laying siege to the town in question. Then it should be allowed, but not under normal circumstances.


If I'm attacked by ruffians and accidentally flash-fry 3 dozen people who were caught in the blast zone, I'd expect to have to submit myself to the authorities or flee the town. Unless I have a high charisma and/or high reputation, I expect that in the former case (submit) I'd be jailed and in both cases I'd lose any sidequests or clues to the main quest from that town. This would probably break the game and end it, so what's the point?


Stick with the knock-outs and be done with it.

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I generally don't kill NPCs, but I believe that each person should have that choice. But with that choice comes risk, so if you break the game because you killed someone important, that's the price you pay for murder. So you should have the choice to kill everyone, because even I sometimes want to kill a party member.

Edited by Tusck
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I'm fine with the idea of killing off everyone. BUT, the major NPCs (Kings, Knights, Lords, Princesses, etc...) should have formidable retinues and/or bodyguards to make the deed almost impossible.



Game of Thrones, you absolutely hate Joffrey, but in order to kill him during your audience you'd need to defeat the Hound and the royal guard, which would be almost impossible task.

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Honestly, I don't get why you'd want to just indiscriminately kill and make quests impossible to finish, but as long as there's some sort of (conifigurable?) warning, then go nuts.


Although the more I think about it, the less appealing it is. It seems designed to confuse/frustrate/annoy people who don't actually want to accidentally throw away hours of effort because they accidentally clipped some quest-critical NPC with a fireball. And on the upside, it ... doesn't really create an interesting game unless the game is programmed to be able to handle the death of critical NPCs. Which if so, then ok.

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Like I said in some other thread, sure let people kill whoever. Give the player the option to do whatever they want within the game, it makes it more fun. If you whack someone who is critical to the main plot throw up a warning maybe, but otherwise let it ride.

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I'm one of the many who picked to be able to kill anyone and everyone, as well as never being notified about it.

I mean, I love my games, and I love them even more with nightmare/hardcore difficulties. To me it just isn't fun otherwise.

Even if it's a 'JUST A GAME' you should have to live with the decisions you've made and accept the outcomes and responsibilities they entail... or at least have the choice to do so. But I also understand that some people like to play the easy modes, which is totally fine as long as it doesn't affect 'my fun'. You know what I mean?


These are my thoughts. :3

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