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Changing companion alignment.

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In many role playing games, you get companions. These companions usually have a set personality and world view. You might sway them a little bit, but stray away from the good path and evil characters might leave your party and might even attack you later. The same goes for good characters. Now, I don't mind having characters of this nature, because not everyone should agree with the player, so he is forced to think about his decisions if he wants to keep certain members happy, or the player just does what he wants and accepts the consequences. This is how it works in many games, and I'm not against it, on the other hand, what I do miss are characters that you can interact with and change their alignment. This wouldn't happen quickly, instead it would be something that you'd have to do during the game. Obviously, this shouldn't be a possibility with all characters.

 

Let's say we recruit a character of a good nature. What if one wants to play as an evil or selfish main character? Instead of always questioning your actions, the character might see that the way you handle things are effective and has its own benefits. The companion could have had a troubled past or whatever, and he/she didn't have much. Despite that, that person is still good natured. Now let's say when the character starts questioning your behviour, you can talk with him/her and discuss the matter. Killing NPCs would probably not be a good idea, then it should maybe not be possible for this to happen. But what if you blackmail or intimidate someone? It's not the path of a good guy, but you haven't killed anyone. You have gotten results and the good natured character was there to witness it. If these things happen often enough during the game, in the end he/she might abandon their view on things and accept the way you handle things. Eventually, they'll start acting more like you.

 

I don't know if this will be seen as ego stroking the player, but that's not really how I see it. Would anyone like to see something like this? I want to be able to roam the world with a corrupted party, and not all of the members were always like that.

 

This would obviously also be an option for good characters. And as I said, this might not be something that should apply to all party members.

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A mix of both is good. In Arcanum Virgil mirrors your alignment, and gets different character development later in the game depending on how you have impacted him as a person - he is clearly a character that to some extent is impressionable. However, not everyone should be (and not every follower in Arcanum is) - some people have scruples and codified beliefs that they won't change no matter how charming their peers are. So I'd be inclined to go for both - good characters who are corruptable, evil characters who are redeemable, neutral characters who drift according to the players whims and then characters from all three of the alignments who do their own thing irrespective of the PC.

Edited by Jojobobo
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P.E. won't have a karma meter or alignment system as such, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could persuade companions into seeing things your way if your Influence* is high enough.

 

*Presuming there is an Influence system.

Edited by Agelastos

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself! Apart from pain... and maybe humiliation. And obviously death and failure. But apart from fear, pain, humiliation, failure, the unknown and death, we have nothing to fear but fear itself!"

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I think I've heard there will be an influence system, though I may be wrong. What I meant by alignment was archetypal alignment and the character's opinions, not a little shifting meter-thingie.

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P.E. won't have a karma meter or alignment system as such, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could persuade companions into seeing things your way if your Influence* is high enough.

 

*Presuming there is an Influence system.

 

This could be done without a visible influence system too.

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P.E. won't have a karma meter or alignment system as such, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could persuade companions into seeing things your way if your Influence* is high enough.

 

*Presuming there is an Influence system.

 

This could be done without a visible influence system too.

 

Of course. Like in Throne of Bhaal, for instance. I only mentioned the Influence system because it's become something of a staple in Obsidian games.

Edited by Agelastos

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself! Apart from pain... and maybe humiliation. And obviously death and failure. But apart from fear, pain, humiliation, failure, the unknown and death, we have nothing to fear but fear itself!"

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P.E. won't have a karma meter or alignment system as such, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could persuade companions into seeing things your way if your Influence* is high enough.

 

*Presuming there is an Influence system.

 

This could be done without a visible influence system too.

 

Of course. Like in Throne of Bhaal, for instance. I only mentioned the Influence system because it's become something of a staple in Obsidian games.

 

Yes, I know. It will be interesting to learn how the influence system will work in PE. Because I think we'll see it in the game in some form.

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I think we have this done before, eg. the drow Viconia from BG. What would be more interesting is for them to change their alignment or world view and strike out on his own, possibily setting up on his/her own.

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It is true that it has been done before, but not enough (in my opinion).

 

That could be another interesting take on companions changing alignment. It doesn't only have to be the way I described it.

 

Or maybe you corrupt a character so much that he becomes as greedy or evil as you. You'd think that the two of you would get along very well, but then it all backfires when that character wants to get rid of you. He's become worse than you. There is no longer a reason for that companion to travel with you because you're no longer needed and he thinks he can handle himself on his own. Maybe he just wants to overthrow you and be the leader of the party? Or something like that. It shouldn't only have good consequences.

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Not to reference an old post of mine, but why would you spend time trying to warp the mind of an NPC when you can just create one?

 

Because it's interesting? It adds more options, I suppose. Usually when you play as an evil character, the chances are that you'll lose a lot of companions. This shouldn't always be the case. In the real world, people follow other people even if they know they one they are following might not be that good of a guy. Why should this not be possible in video games? Something like this shouldn't be possible to do for every character you recruit, but it would be interesting and it allows the writers to do something we don't see very often.

 

Maybe the whole idea isn't good, but I'd like to see something like this in PE.

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This is good so long as it is believable: it must come slowly, methodically, preferably with an NPC who views you as a kind of mentor figure. Events would shape them and you could shape how they respond to those events.

 

It would also be nice to see it not be based solely on the good-evil factor. Making an introverted NPC bolder and more outgoing, a religious NPC lose his faith, or a bloodythirsty NPC realize the futility of endless war are also valid changes that could come about through interaction.

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Not to reference an old post of mine, but why would you spend time trying to warp the mind of an NPC when you can just create one?

 

Because, almost invariably, a created NPC is a mute with no personality. Warping the mind of an NPC is fun precisely because they are depicted as having a mind.

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Not to reference an old post of mine, but why would you spend time trying to warp the mind of an NPC when you can just create one?

 

Because it's interesting? It adds more options, I suppose. Usually when you play as an evil character, the chances are that you'll lose a lot of companions. This shouldn't always be the case. In the real world, people follow other people even if they know they one they are following might not be that good of a guy. Why should this not be possible in video games? Something like this shouldn't be possible to do for every character you recruit, but it would be interesting and it allows the writers to do something we don't see very often.

 

Maybe the whole idea isn't good, but I'd like to see something like this in PE.

 

 

Viability of a so-called evil path is a separate issue from the mechanical ability to alter a companion's "character" for the purposes of interactive party play.

 

The former should be fully viable with whatever variable outcomes written into various plots, factions, whatever. The latter should be limited and highly dependent on a few key "worldview" features for each companion--in the real world, most everyone has only a few personal issues for which they will not budge but may be persuaded in other subjects. Some people will have more absolute views than that, others looser.

 

There is no "alignment" in PE, and I am loathe to entertain the concept anywhere near the game. It's best to discard the absolutist concept quickly. You can change people's minds about topics of the day or even a given situation under extreme or unique circumstances through either action or rhetoric, but from the big picture design perspective for a game without alignment, there can be no "redemption" or "corruption" without relativity to an in-game element (faction, culture, etc.).

 

The potential key for player flexibility, IMO, is not to think about a given party NPC's "alignment shift" in relation to the PC but rather their personal and functional motivations in relation to PC choices (action and rhetoric). Imagine, perhaps, our eight companions as points on the world map and each of their character as a circle encompassing their worldviews, some of which overlap with each other--and then the PC is located somewhere among them as an intersection of a gigantic Venn diagram. If we choose to ally with faction A, we might expect companions 1,2,3,4 to approve and 5,6 to remain neutral and 7,8 to disagree. It might be possible to persuade 7 to see our way through both action and rhetoric, but perhaps this is a point of contention with 8 that s/he must leave the party for a while or whatever. I see nothing wrong with that--realistic NPCs, like any person, should maintain their own immutable values.

 

Party companions should not be subject to wanton "alignment shifts" on the whims of the PC, as this would trivialize the efforts to build unique character into each. In the ideal mechanical scenario, I would like certain quests and all faction reputation variables to be weighted on a scale of importance for our companions; there can be the one or two immutable values for each, but in most cases beliefs and/or opinions might be moved around the bell curve. And under no circumstances would I tolerate a visible meter for these companion variables because that's instant metagaming and immersion-breaking. :(

 

In implementation, this means that an appropriate way to alter companion worldviews in a world without absolute alignments is through external interaction across three variables (PC, NPC, world) rather than only two (PC, NPC).

Edited by Ieo
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This is a very good idea. Having some party (or non party) members which you can influence to act differently in ways they otherwise wouldn't is something I've always liked in RPGs. Unfortunately they don't tend to cater for personalities that I would like to play. Having an evil but not psychotic PC who brutally but not tactlessly takes advantage of Jaheira's and Aerie's issues to corrupt and break them is something I would love to do although it probably wouldn't fit in with their personalities (I'm not sure why. I think it's because they're often irritating and you can 'redeem' Viconia).

 

Such adjustment should be consistent with their background and motivations though.

 

Some people seem to dislike alignments systems and I agree such things can be crude and prescriptive but I like having an at a glance look at the rough nature of an npc's character and their affiliations. Planescape Torment is a good example of this as it showed their alignment and faction. If we can influence characters to change, it would be good to have some sort of visual feedback.

 

Given that you'll apparently gain reputation according to your actions in the game it will be interesting to see how this is implemented for your party companions. After all, if we want proper autonomous npcs with objectives of their own it makes sense they have their own track records of factions and reputations.

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Just don't give them alignments. They may be ok for personal use, but for the companions I'd rather figure it out myself how they work. People you meet might make a good or bad first impression and then turn out to be the opposite.

Though I guess if the original question wasn't so specific to alignments: Yes, I would like to see the player's impact on the companions' personalities. It's not even necessary for me that there's some large shifts of world views, but maybe just enough that at the end of the day they make a slightly different decision or take a different path. You can even have some backfires where the player does not achieve the desired effect or just strengthens the companions own convictions.

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There doesn't have to be an alignment per se. Let's call it personality instead. My basic idea is still the same. Meet a good natured person and influence that person enough, and slowly, that person will have developed a different world view by the end of the game.

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What would make this really, really fun is if the companions would react very differently if your actions clashed with their ethics and world-view.

 

Basically, the companions would have a different degree of...let's call it "moral flexibility".

 

Some of them might be flexible and come over to your world view - adopt your ethics - perhaps reluctantly, but they would develop to accept and support your typical actions.

 

However, others might be more stubborn, and unwilling to budge - if you continue to behave in a way that is unacceptable to them, they might get angry and leave, attack or betray you. Alternatively they might argue with you - try to get you to adopt their view of life.

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If they won't sing with Frisk, then he's gonna give that NPC the boot! ;)

 

Frisk's post above is right on. I'd be very interested in having a companion or two actually in possession of a spine. If you tick them off too much, they should abandon the party and take all of their gear with them.


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I've discussions with my friends.

 

Sometimes I even convince them

 

Should their behaviour change as a result?

 

yes.

 

If they won't sing with Frisk, then he's gonna give that NPC the boot! ;)

 

Frisk's post above is right on. I'd be very interested in having a companion or two actually in possession of a spine. If you tick them off too much, they should abandon the party and take all of their gear with them.

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Edited by JFSOCC

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Personally I'd like to see something loosely related to what Obsidian did with KOTOR 2. If you had high influence with a companion their alignment would be shifted towards yours. While I understand that there won't be any alignment in P:E, there will be some sort of influence system (preferably invisible) and I think that it'd be cool to have your companions begin to mimic your world views to a degree. Of course this would only work for companions who can be influenced, but in my mind Obsidian already has a handle on that especially since in KOTOR 2 you could not influence everyone, Kreia was always neutral, and the psychotic wookiee Hanrrar (or whatever his name was) was always evil.

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Personally I'd like to see something loosely related to what Obsidian did with KOTOR 2. If you had high influence with a companion their alignment would be shifted towards yours. While I understand that there won't be any alignment in P:E, there will be some sort of influence system (preferably invisible) and I think that it'd be cool to have your companions begin to mimic your world views to a degree. Of course this would only work for companions who can be influenced, but in my mind Obsidian already has a handle on that especially since in KOTOR 2 you could not influence everyone, Kreia was always neutral, and the psychotic wookiee Hanrrar (or whatever his name was) was always evil.

 

The problem with how KotOR2 handled alignment shifts is that, while it may have affected their appearances, what items they could use and how much Dark and Light Side force powers cost, it didn't change their personalities in the slightest. At least in BG2: Throne of Bhaal and DA:O when you converted someone to your way of thinking, it changed some of their dialogue. In DA:O, if you "hardened" Alistair, it could even have an impact on the ending.

Edited by Agelastos

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself! Apart from pain... and maybe humiliation. And obviously death and failure. But apart from fear, pain, humiliation, failure, the unknown and death, we have nothing to fear but fear itself!"

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Personally I'd like to see something loosely related to what Obsidian did with KOTOR 2. If you had high influence with a companion their alignment would be shifted towards yours. While I understand that there won't be any alignment in P:E, there will be some sort of influence system (preferably invisible) and I think that it'd be cool to have your companions begin to mimic your world views to a degree. Of course this would only work for companions who can be influenced, but in my mind Obsidian already has a handle on that especially since in KOTOR 2 you could not influence everyone, Kreia was always neutral, and the psychotic wookiee Hanrrar (or whatever his name was) was always evil.

 

The problem with how KotOR2 handled alignment shifts is that, while it may have affected their appearances, what items they could use and how much Dark and Light Side force powers cost, it didn't change their personalities in the slightest. At least in BG2: Throne of Bhaal and DA:O when you converted someone to your way of thinking, it changed some of their dialogue. In DA:O, if you "hardened" Alistair, it could even have an impact on the ending.

But it was bad that hardening was better, rather than different.

Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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Love alignment changes. There won't need to be an alignment system, of course, but that does make the mechanic more visible, if there were.

 

Viconia/Bastila were fun as a result of it, though I swear Juhani could be Dark Side or Light Side at the end of the game, but maybe that was with a mod I was playing. There was a mod I found that let you corrupt Brianna in KOTOR2. But besides that, I've not encountered much alignment changing, which is a shame.

Edited by anubite

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