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I love CRPGs, I've actually been on something of a CRPG marathon lately. I've played through IWD, IWD2, BG, BG2, BG2:ToB, NWN & all expansions, NWN2 & all expansions. PS:T is next.

 

One thing that many of these games are guilty of is what I'd call plot-related forced character positioning.

 

Essentially I'm describing what happens when the plot demands a conversation before a fight and forces your character to stand close to and in full sight of your aggressor, even when it will obviously become a fight and even when tactically it is suicide.

 

NWN2 is by far the worst culprit of this but the others suffer from it to one degree or another. When playing as a sorceror there is little more frustrating than sneaking ahead with your party's rogue, running across an invisible zone which triggers a conversation in which your main character & your rogue mysteriously switch positions, leaving your rogue nice & safe with the rest of your party and your squishy sorceror all alone to face the music...

 

I like to play Archers, Rogues or Spellcasters in these kind of games, never the kind who like to be 'in the thick of it'. Thus it frustrates me immensely where I'm forced into a conversation which results in a fight for which I am immediately disadvantaged. It especially frustrates me when the conversation starts even though I'm successfully sneaking or invisible etc.

 

What I'd like to see in Project Eternity is for this to be handled differently. If my main character rogue sneaks into the room where some enemy wants to start up a conversation, I'd like the game to allow one of my companions to speak for me so I can remain hidden.

 

I'd also like to see the game allow me & my party to remain standing in their original positions after the conversation is over rather than seeing Aerie (or similar character) placed next to something with more swords than braincells.

 

Obviously plot must prevail but I'd like to see that tactical options are never denied me when they shouldn't be!

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If you could sneak up on enemy mages and backstab them or walk in with invisibility and call down a huge spell it would make many of the boss fights trivial to beat. I realize that you are talking more about a story and realism issue, but just keep in mind how many things they would have to change to make the boss battles work properly. 

I agree that it would be nice to get rid of forced conversations and for the game to preserve your formation so that your fragile party members never get caught out of position. They should then stage ambushes where monsters attack you from the flank / behind and factor that into the difficulty of the fight. I have always hated forced conversations, they are so unnatural.

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I still get a ticked about being forced to lose in that Jedi Council conversation in KOTOR 2. I was level 20 something by then, I was the destroyer of everything! I beat the, last boss, with no trouble, how can she beat the council with no trouble when I lost? Ugh.

 

It feels like the same sort of thing. "My character is this, except when a dramatic moment is called for." As long as its noticed, perhaps it can be avoided.

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Great topic title. Good input by the OP as well. Just sayin'. :)


"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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*Gasp*...

 

What if you could get a completely different dialogue initiation by sneaking up to one of these characters and actively initiating combat yourself?

 

Imagine there's an ambush (or just some people who are ready and willing to take you down). So, you've got the typical thing the OP described. They see you, and immediately begin telling you whatever it is they wish to tell you before ultimately attacking you (if it even comes to that). The point is that they have the potential to attack you, unless you talk them out of it or something.

 

So, what if you Rogue your way up to the main talky character (who was, in a typical game, going to teleport you in front of himself and talk to you for a bit before ordering his men to attack), but, as an alternative to simply knifing him in the back, you could put a knife to his throat and initiate dialogue that way?! "Tell your men to disarm themselves, and we can do this peacefully."

 

BOOM, that guy now knows you COULD'VE killed him, but chose not to. That alters his entire vision of you from before that happened!

 

If you need that to not be possible (for story reasons) in certain dialogue/encounter situations, then you script in a Mage adviser acting as a magical security camera (you can't sneak past him), or something of that nature, and you could still put in ONE different dialogue initiation -- something like "Did you REALLY think I didn't plan for attempts at subterfuge?" -- which handles the whole thing nicely.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I agree with the OP's frustrations, and would suggest two points.

 

a) No repositioning of units as a result of dialogue engagement. This should mean that my wizard doesn't get pulled into melee range to chat with an obvious assassin. Equally, if my thief loses stealth and is engaged in dialogue, the rest of my party shouldn't automatically teleport to protect him.

 

2) Please, please, please, please, PLEASE can we assign a designated 'talker' for the party. It seems like so many crpgs give us dialogue skills almost exclusively for back line troops and then force us to change formation for every interaction. If my party is addressed my smooth-talking Bard shouldn't become all coy when he's stood three foot behind my half-orc barbarian. The formation changes are just fiddly and in the context of dialogue engagement really offer very little. If they're a full screen behind then fair enough, but if we're addressed as a party then let us respond as a party.

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@OP:

 

+1

 

@Lephys:

 

Plus it (the scenario in your last paragraph) makes the baddie sound capable, which is always nice for the fiction.

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I agree with the OP's frustrations, and would suggest two points.

 

a) No repositioning of units as a result of dialogue engagement. This should mean that my wizard doesn't get pulled into melee range to chat with an obvious assassin. Equally, if my thief loses stealth and is engaged in dialogue, the rest of my party shouldn't automatically teleport to protect him.

 

2) Please, please, please, please, PLEASE can we assign a designated 'talker' for the party. It seems like so many crpgs give us dialogue skills almost exclusively for back line troops and then force us to change formation for every interaction. If my party is addressed my smooth-talking Bard shouldn't become all coy when he's stood three foot behind my half-orc barbarian. The formation changes are just fiddly and in the context of dialogue engagement really offer very little. If they're a full screen behind then fair enough, but if we're addressed as a party then let us respond as a party.

Last I heard, PE doesn't have dialogue-centric skills, strictly speaking. They haven't said so, but I wouldn't be surprised if they followed the "PC is always the 'dedicated talker'; companions speak only during scripted interjections" model.


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How about the big boss being a room with a single entrance and a locked door.

 

Invisible or not, doors opening will *not* go unnoticed and everyone WILL know something is fishy.

 

Basicly, just designing the encounter well can make all the difference.

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* 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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Last I heard, PE doesn't have dialogue-centric skills, strictly speaking. They haven't said so, but I wouldn't be surprised if they followed the "PC is always the 'dedicated talker'; companions speak only during scripted interjections" model.

 

 

If PE doesn't have any skill/attribute based dialogue, and the PC is always the dedicated talker, then this sort of carries itself. However, if Charisma/Intelligence/Wisdom/Skills do have an impact, then I would like to see the option there to choose a 'talker' in order to not make the equivilant of Sorcerors/Bards/Wizards vastly more preferable for PCs than fighter/barbarian types.

 

Personally, although I've never imagined PE to walk the Fallout/PS:T/Arcanum line, I would've liked a certain amount of customisable dialogue based upon stats if not skills, too. Baldur's Gate 2 did this fairly unintrusively, as I recall.

 

At any rate, if PE does have dialogue affecting stats/skills, dedicated talkers would seem to be a fairly easy thing to code in, and contribute to the process of party balance rather than being a limiting factor in PC's class choice.

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NWN1 and 2 games were really really bad at ruining stealth classes with cutscenes. If it's a no name orc captain, fine you can backstab him or disable traps in his vicinity. If he has lines of any kind they trigger with proximity and you are screwed. 

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2) Please, please, please, please, PLEASE can we assign a designated 'talker' for the party. It seems like so many crpgs give us dialogue skills almost exclusively for back line troops and then force us to change formation for every interaction. If my party is addressed my smooth-talking Bard shouldn't become all coy when he's stood three foot behind my half-orc barbarian. The formation changes are just fiddly and in the context of dialogue engagement really offer very little. If they're a full screen behind then fair enough, but if we're addressed as a party then let us respond as a party.

So you want to create a protagonist, and then remove all forms of player agency by having an NPC make all the decisions for you? Isn't that like CoD mode in Mass Effect 3 where the game just makes all the dialogue choices for you? Why should you even be the protagonist if you want someone else to be the leader? Why should they write an entire game storyline for every possible party member as protagonist? The entire point of these things is player agency. If positioning is a problem, then say "don't put the wizard in the front alone," not "make some other character the leader who makes all the decisions because I don't want difficult battles."

 

Do you even know that wizards and the like are allowed to wear heavy armor in P:E? Without having to multiclass or be "bad wizards" in Sawyer's words?

Edited by AGX-17

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How about the big boss being a room with a single entrance and a locked door.

 

Invisible or not, doors opening will *not* go unnoticed and everyone WILL know something is fishy.

 

Basicly, just designing the encounter well can make all the difference.

That's easy. Shape-change spell on your invisible character, transforming them into a tiny spider. They crawl in (not even detected as a spider), then return to normal form behind the person in question. Throat-slitting/hostage situation proceeds as planned. 8P

 

Unless you have a Mage security camera, of course. :)

 

(I get what you're saying, though, and you're right. I'm being half silly with that example, but also half serious).

 

Also, I just thought of something else regarding the broader topic.

 

You should probably be able to decide whether or not you re-position (actually walk up to speak face-to-face with a person) or not. Imagine you're going to meet someone for a quest, and this person is a trusted person. BUT, you have the opportunity to discover that they're trying to set you up and have you (or someone in your party) killed and make it look like someone else did it. You find out about this, and you know there'll be some manner of ye olde sniper on a rooftop or something (someone in with the guards, surely, so that security would let them get into such a position for a public meeting with some noble guy, etc.). Annnnnywho, the point is, you cast some kind of "protection from missiles" spell on that character, then send him in as if nothing is out of the ordinary, and you have people you trust (maybe just your party, maybe someone outside of it) watching for the shooter when the attempt is made.

 

BOOM! Crossbow bolt bounces off your shield/disintegrates (whatever effect...), and everyone is immediately surprised.

 

Wayyyyy awesomer than ONLY having the opportunity to say "Jig's up, Mr. Nobleman! I know there's a shooter somewhere on the roof, and that you're trying to have me killed, and that I can't prove any of this yet!"

 

:)

 

Even if it's just worked into the dialogue system (dialogue options for preperatory ability uses, etc., so you don't have to manually, as the player, work out the exact details of when and where you cast the spell, and how long it will last, etc.), so that you have some sort of "Okay, here's the plan" meeting with your party before you go into the meeting with the spell on you, and you get to choose what the plan is, and one option involves spelling yourself against missiles.

 

So you want to create a protagonist, and then remove all forms of player agency by having an NPC make all the decisions for you? Isn't that like CoD mode in Mass Effect 3 where the game just makes all the dialogue choices for you? Why should you even be the protagonist if you want someone else to be the leader? Why should they write an entire game storyline for every possible party member as protagonist? The entire point of these things is player agency. If positioning is a problem, then say "don't put the wizard in the front alone," not "make some other character the leader who makes all the decisions because I don't want difficult battles."

 

Do you even know that wizards and the like are allowed to wear heavy armor in P:E? Without having to multiclass or be "bad wizards" in Sawyer's words?

My favorite thing about your posts is that absolutely nothing fails to be ludicrous enough to immediately warrant extreme sarcasm.

 

I'm gonna get you a Jump To Conclusions mat (from Office Space) as a gift, because it seems like something you'd enjoy. 8P

 

A) He never said "I want to ensure that the main character NEVER stands in the front lines or initiates dialogue, ever."

 

B) Have you even allowed any mental effort to be expended simply considering the possibility that you could (even if only sometimes) control another party member (besides the main character) in a dialogue and still choose options? I mean, you do control their formations and combat movements and ability-timings and such, right? Why would deciding what they say be so out-of-the-question?

 

C) The fact that Wizards can potentially wear heavy armor and could optionally be designed as front-line folk isn't a very good solution to the potential problem at hand. "As long as you never pick other options perfectly available to you as a caster (like being physically weaker and specializing in ranged effectiveness), there isn't a problem. So, problem solved! 8D! All you have to do is be railroaded into certain options! ^_^"

Edited by Lephys
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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I'm going to jump back in on my own topic to comment on a few things that have been mentioned by others.

 

Designated party spokesperson: I like the idea that, for non-main-quest conversations, the party could have a designated spokesperson. In traditional D&D this would usually be the rogue/bard/sorceror/paladin (high charisma & conversational skills). It would help with things like getting lower prices with merchants and generally offering you favourable options in many conversations.

 

Skills in conversations. Despite what NWN2 does to you tactically speaking (i.e. bends you over and applies the lube) it did handle skills in conversation very well, especially in the MotB expansion. High enough Arcana, you can comment on the magic, high perception, you see/hear something etc. It's also something IWD2 did well with regards to intelligence changing your speech from "Defy me again and I will see you and your compatriots hang" to "Hulk smash".

 

Regarding stealthing up to a big-bad mage and backstabbing them, why shouldn't it be allowed? It's a legitimate tactic. If you REALLY don't want it to happen then have the mage already with stoneskin (or equivalent non-WOTC spell of uncannily similar name) to mitigate this somewhat or simply with his back to a wall... Wizards are meant to be smart right? Alternatively, if in a brightly lit room have the game apply location-based penalties to the stealth checks, have alarm traps on the floor etc. If your rogue still manages to get around all of that and get in a good backstab then I think they've earned it!

 

I love the idea that initiating a conversation from stealth could offer different conversation options.

 

Regarding AGX's concerns (which are legitimate despite the derisory tone) that the protagonist's voice is somewhat taken away with the party spokesman's idea, I tend to think that the party, as a whole, think as one (hence why you, the player, actually make the decisions in conversations). This does give me a cool idea though, that designating an NPC as the spokesperson might sometimes mean that you DON'T get the choice in what they say if there's a particular conversation option that they would definitely choose.

 

Finally it would also be nice to see as few "forgone conclusion" conversations as possible. I mean conversations that will always result in a fight no matter what. If that was the case then why did we talk in the first place? Some of the most irritating moments in CRPG have been conversations that take your PC rogue out of stealth, place them smack-bang in front of the half-blind half-orc fighter who would never have seen you, he then offers you a 1-2 line dialogue that basically says "me smash" and proceeds to pummel you into oblivion, all the while you're stood there thinking "how the f*** did he see me?"

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Fallout new vegas: I'm sneaking with 100 stealth through a deserted area, from a mile away 4 people from caesars legion arrive. I can't avoid them. They tell me I'm marked for death, and battle ensues.

 

If you don't absolutely have to script an event, don't script the event.

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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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You should probably be able to decide whether or not you re-position (actually walk up to speak face-to-face with a person) or not. Imagine you're going to meet someone for a quest, and this person is a trusted person. BUT, you have the opportunity to discover that they're trying to set you up and have you (or someone in your party) killed and make it look like someone else did it. You find out about this, and you know there'll be some manner of ye olde sniper on a rooftop or something (someone in with the guards, surely, so that security would let them get into such a position for a public meeting with some noble guy, etc.). Annnnnywho, the point is, you cast some kind of "protection from missiles" spell on that character, then send him in as if nothing is out of the ordinary, and you have people you trust (maybe just your party, maybe someone outside of it) watching for the shooter when the attempt is made.

BOOM! Crossbow bolt bounces off your shield/disintegrates (whatever effect...), and everyone is immediately surprised.

Wayyyyy awesomer than ONLY having the opportunity to say "Jig's up, Mr. Nobleman! I know there's a shooter somewhere on the roof, and that you're trying to have me killed, and that I can't prove any of this yet!"

:)

Even if it's just worked into the dialogue system (dialogue options for preperatory ability uses, etc., so you don't have to manually, as the player, work out the exact details of when and where you cast the spell, and how long it will last, etc.), so that you have some sort of "Okay, here's the plan" meeting with your party before you go into the meeting with the spell on you, and you get to choose what the plan is, and one option involves spelling yourself against missiles.

 

I'd rather player has to cast the spell himself. Imergent gameplay born from the existing mechanics and abilities beats a conversation option any time.

 


* 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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I'd rather player has to cast the spell himself. Imergent gameplay born from the existing mechanics and abilities beats a conversation option any time.

To be clear, the player would still be the one to make the call. You would simply select a dialogue option along the lines of "Here's what we're going to do: (Plan details here), *Cast Greater Invisibility*", rather than just telling everyone what you're planning, then having to go into your spell book outside the dialogue, select the spell, and cast it on your character. Especially if the dialogue happens literally as your approaching the situation at hand, and you make some kind of "Yes, we're doing this now" decision, and everyone around you goes into some sort of "We're not going to follow you right now if you just leave and head back to town, and so the game isn't going to let you leave until you address this situation you just told everyone we were about to address" mode.

 

It's simply, well, potentially not out-of-the-question is all. I'd rather it not be handled by dialogue, as well, but I can think of at least the possibility that there might be a reason for it to be handled within dialogue. I mean, unless you have a good reason, I would assume you're going to share the plan with your party, rather than just randomly casting Invisibility on the Rogue and staring at everyone until they figure out what to do. So, the dialogue and the chosen action kind of coincide at that point.

 

I get what you mean, though, I think. I just realized: If the dialogue says "Okay, we'll do this *cast spell*," then now you know, just by reading that, that that's a valid strategy, whereas you may not have known it if you hadn't read the dialogue option. Hmm?

 

Good point, that is.

 

The only thing I'll say there is that you have to be careful, also, not to design the game, all the while saying "I have to make sure the characters never provide insight into a certain strategy or action that the player never would have thought of on his own." Because, they're characters in the game world, and they know a lot more than you, sitting at your computer, do, about it.

 

But, I do see the potential problem, with this specific example. It's a fine line, it is.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Hate it when that happened too. No moving characters during cut scenes, the game should remember where each one was standing and keep it that way. As for the converstation skills, they could do it like in nwn2, (i think it was on the soz expansion) where each character could chime in a conversation any time, and use whatever skills where pertinent to the conversation.

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On the topic, I'm actually playing through Arcanum right now, and it allows you to initiate conversations from anywhere within about a 25-foot radius (it would seem) of the target person. Seems like a fundamentally better approach, already, than the "you must walk ALL the way up to the person's face" or "you teleport to them and congregate around them with your party" approaches, and Arcanum's like 80 years old. :)


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Somehow I missed that when I first read it & it makes a lot of sense. Why, except in a very noisy area or for a conversation requiring some privacy, do people need to be right next to who they are speaking to?

 

It's not the infinity engine as some enemies would spark up a chat as soon as you they could see you...

 

I'd like that as an option sometimes, perhaps with a "come closer" dialogue option where it is necessary.


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I'd rather player has to cast the spell himself. Imergent gameplay born from the existing mechanics and abilities beats a conversation option any time.

To be clear, the player would still be the one to make the call. You would simply select a dialogue option along the lines of "Here's what we're going to do: (Plan details here), *Cast Greater Invisibility*", rather than just telling everyone what you're planning, then having to go into your spell book outside the dialogue, select the spell, and cast it on your character. Especially if the dialogue happens literally as your approaching the situation at hand, and you make some kind of "Yes, we're doing this now" decision, and everyone around you goes into some sort of "We're not going to follow you right now if you just leave and head back to town, and so the game isn't going to let you leave until you address this situation you just told everyone we were about to address" mode.

 

It's simply, well, potentially not out-of-the-question is all. I'd rather it not be handled by dialogue, as well, but I can think of at least the possibility that there might be a reason for it to be handled within dialogue. I mean, unless you have a good reason, I would assume you're going to share the plan with your party, rather than just randomly casting Invisibility on the Rogue and staring at everyone until they figure out what to do. So, the dialogue and the chosen action kind of coincide at that point.

 

I get what you mean, though, I think. I just realized: If the dialogue says "Okay, we'll do this *cast spell*," then now you know, just by reading that, that that's a valid strategy, whereas you may not have known it if you hadn't read the dialogue option. Hmm?

 

Good point, that is.

 

The only thing I'll say there is that you have to be careful, also, not to design the game, all the while saying "I have to make sure the characters never provide insight into a certain strategy or action that the player never would have thought of on his own." Because, they're characters in the game world, and they know a lot more than you, sitting at your computer, do, about it.

 

But, I do see the potential problem, with this specific example. It's a fine line, it is.

 

 

 

I just personally prefer if the game gives me tools and let's me use them freely and come up with my own ways to deal with a situation, rather than have it spelled out for me.

 

Just being informed that there is a assasin with a crossbow that will probably attack you once you go into the courtyard already tells you enough. You already know "protection from missiles" can probably protect you. You know he's an archer, so he'll probably be on the higher level, searching for a better vantage point.

You can avoid heh courtyard, send your own team to sweep the area for him, cast invisibiltiy, use protection from missiles, etc ,etc.

Maybe you can even be a duplicious bastard and contact that assasin and hire him to double-cross the person who initally hired him. OR contact the group he is trying to frame and let them handle him.

 

Multiple viable ways to deal with the problem that one can do with just using backgroudn information, without it being telegraphed.

 

At the same time, discussing the plan with your team sounds great, but doing that automaticly reveals all possible plans given how a conversation works. It's a double-edged sword.

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* 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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What it all boils down to is "don't take away the player's agency."

 

Especially don't take away the player's agency because you can't be bothered to script in exposition dialogue in a more clever way.

 

If you're thinking of scripting a railroad moment, think of it this way: if this happened in a tabletop RPG, and my GM forced this to happen in this way, how likely would I be to do violence to my GM for pulling that kind of nonsense? If the answer is "quite likely," then don't code it in.

 

The thing that the OP complained about... being dragged against your will by a game engine into an obvious ambush? THE most frustrating. I remember this happening all the time in Dragon Age: Origins, and I remember actually leveling my characters' skills in such a way to allow them to defend themselves from being surrounded as I know the game engine would constantly drag my mages and ranged attackers into the open against my will. It's bad game design when you have to design your character build to fight the dialogue triggers as the greatest enemy in the game. In a tabletop game, if the GM picked up my PC's mini and placed it next to his big bad, I would shove his big bad's miniature up his nose. There is no situation when that would be cool (let alone immersive or interesting), I don't care what game you're playing.

 

If there's information that you MUST give me, give it to me in a way I can find it that doesn't force me to endanger myself when there's no way I'd actually do that given free will and the slightest modicum of common sense. And if I WANT to attack the big bad standing in the open without having a chat first, I should have that option. I should be allowed in fact to skip the exposition dialogue if I am not interested in it. If it's that important, leave the necessary information in a note on the boss's body.

 

Not to mention, if the big bad is smart, he won't be standing out in the open. He'll have an emissary there. Or an illusion of himself, which can deliver the necessary dialogue and be unharmed -- all in a way that storywise, makes actual sense. THERE ARE WAYS to be sure necessary information can be shared without making the player feel helpess or out of control of his or her own characters. If you're taking away the player's agency just to give information, you are not being creative enough, you are not taking the time necessary to work the information in organically in a way that does not make the player feel like they're involved in an occasionally interactive movie rather than a game.

 

And for god's sake, put Stealth qualifiers on dialogue triggers. If Stealth check is greater than or equal to X, then PC does not trigger this dialogue mark. OR at least have the decency to put in your dialogue that we apparently MUST hear at all costs a reason WHY the speaker can sense the stealthy agent. And again, those triggers should be there only if absolutely necessary. And yes, the PC should be able to trigger dialogue if he wants. Even in combat--if you let the NPCs go "wait, I want to talk!" before the PC is allowed to make the killing blow, then the PC should be afforded the same choice. It's not fair if the NPCs appear to have more free will and agency than you do.

Edited by DeathQuaker
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I just personally prefer if the game gives me tools and let's me use them freely and come up with my own ways to deal with a situation, rather than have it spelled out for me.

 

Just being informed that there is a assasin with a crossbow that will probably attack you once you go into the courtyard already tells you enough. You already know "protection from missiles" can probably protect you. You know he's an archer, so he'll probably be on the higher level, searching for a better vantage point.

You can avoid heh courtyard, send your own team to sweep the area for him, cast invisibiltiy, use protection from missiles, etc ,etc.

Maybe you can even be a duplicious bastard and contact that assasin and hire him to double-cross the person who initally hired him. OR contact the group he is trying to frame and let them handle him.

 

Multiple viable ways to deal with the problem that one can do with just using backgroudn information, without it being telegraphed.

 

At the same time, discussing the plan with your team sounds great, but doing that automaticly reveals all possible plans given how a conversation works. It's a double-edged sword.

It's very much a double-edged sword. I just can't get over how inadvertently awkward a complete lack of dialogue-style setup could possibly get, so I'm trying my hardest to figure out a way to incorporate that, whilst maintaining the integrity of player ingenuity.

 

The very specific example I happened to think of was "assume you want to set up an ambush for an assassin by making him think he has in no way been detected." So, in such a specific example, it seems like just manually setting everything up would be a bit awkward, because the characters are going to know more and more easily make plans than the player can. OR, you could always just play through to the point at which the assassin strikes, then re-load the game, manually move someone up into the balcony to stand RIGHT beside the assassin, then prevent the whole thing from happening (because the player will know what the characters are not supposed to at all). Obviously, that enters the realm of "nothing is making you do that," but it's along those "You happened to do something either WAY WORSE than the characters inherently would have or FAR BETTER than the characters could possibly have done." That's kind of a bad example, though, as it only touches on what I'm trying to get at. So, forget about the intentional meta-gaming, and I'll try to think of an unintentional meta-gamey thing.

 

But, the other thing (again, with this specific type of situation) is that the assassination attempt is going to happen while you're "distracted" and speaking with someone in the courtyard, not the moment you enter the courtyard and the assassin has a clear shot. The less that's going on around you, the more quickly people will notice the shot and seek its source. Also, knowing this, I see no advantage in manually timing the casting of the protection from missiles spell, since there's no way in hell A) Your Wizard is just going to forget he's capable of casting such a spell, against an assailant everyone KNOWS is going to be attempting assassination with a missile-based weapon, and B) He's not going to accidentally cast it too late, or too early. Not that I think it would be a problematic thing, timing it properly (on the player's part). It's just that, there's absolutely no advantage to that. Your characters are quite capable of doing all that.

 

But, the plan would only include preparations, and it would be up to the player to control the characters in such a way as to acquire as much info about the assassin as possible, BEFORE making the preparations. Therefore, in this particular type of scenario, I don't feel that having a "I'll go and speak to Lord Blargle in the courtyard, and you shield me from missiles just before I enter the courtyard, then make your way to the location we discussed" would be in any way giving something away. IF you have the spell already, with a character, etc., and you have a decently Intelligent character. But, you'd have to have a plethora of options for the placement of people to prepare for the ambush. But, there'd still be preset location options (although many), so you couldn't just manually position people to be standing around in the middle of the 2nd floor to be seen immediately by the assassin approaching from almost ANY direction, because, again, your Ranger isn't going to agree to stand out in plain sight in order to ambush an assassin. Yet, it's still up to the player to get all the info he can (maybe you never know exactly where the assassin's going to set up his shot, but you find out which entrance he's coming through, and/or which route of escape he'll likely use, so you can set people up to be able to cut him off once he's located, or to go straight for where he's most likely to be, etc. Plus, you don't know if he'll be magically concealed or not, so you have to decide WHO to send where, etc.)

 

I don't mind scripted options when they're based on character knowledge, because, at that point, leaving it up to the player would be kind of ridiculous, if the character would never have not-done something you fail to do. In other words, "I'll just waltz out into the courtyard naked, and no one take up strategic positions anywhere, and we'll totally ambush this guy!" is not even a feasible plan. I think at that point, despite your main character's dialogue/scripted choice, one of your companions would chime in with "That's preposterous. If you're going to be an idiot, I'M going to lead this ambush plan, and we'll do whatever we damn well please without your consent."

 

That's all that's bugging me about not having a form of scripted-options dialogue/preparation thing for non-dynamic situations (events that are set in stone, and you simply have a variable, limited knowledge about their details.)


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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It's very much a double-edged sword. I just can't get over how inadvertently awkward a complete lack of dialogue-style setup could possibly get, so I'm trying my hardest to figure out a way to incorporate that, whilst maintaining the integrity of player ingenuity.

 

 

 

Well, either the PC picks from a selecton of plans OR the party NPC's give the player "ideas" in a row and the PC selects one. Eitehr way, due to the limits of the conversation, if such things are handled trough conversations you are restricted.

Not only is the a very clear limit on the numbe of solution the developers would provide/write, but you'll also see them all presented.

 

You could of course have SOMe plans spelled out, other possible to enact "manually". The solution could be insted of detailed plans, more of a vauge directions:

NPC a: we should find a way to negate his attack

NPC b: I personally feel we should find him before he can find us..or avoid the courtyard completely

NPC c: why avoid him? If they can manipulate and paly dirty, so can we!

 

This kinda gives you possible general direction.

 

 

 

But, the other thing (again, with this specific type of situation) is that the assassination attempt is going to happen while you're "distracted" and speaking with someone in the courtyard, not the moment you enter the courtyard and the assassin has a clear shot. The less that's going on around you, the more quickly people will notice the shot and seek its source. Also, knowing this, I see no advantage in manually timing the casting of the protection from missiles spell, since there's no way in hell A) Your Wizard is just going to forget he's capable of casting such a spell, against an assailant everyone KNOWS is going to be attempting assassination with a missile-based weapon, and B) He's not going to accidentally cast it too late, or too early. Not that I think it would be a problematic thing, timing it properly (on the player's part). It's just that, there's absolutely no advantage to that. Your characters are quite capable of doing all that.

 

Yeah, I wans't thinking about a QTE, more like something as simple as "cast protection from missiles before you walk into the courtyard".

I take it the spell has a duration that's worth something.

OR don a breastplate underneath your clothes.

 

 

 

Therefore, in this particular type of scenario, I don't feel that having a "I'll go and speak to Lord Blargle in the courtyard, and you shield me from missiles just before I enter the courtyard, then make your way to the location we discussed" would be in any way giving something away.

 

It gives away the plan itself as a solution. Or should I say planS.

Your solution pretty much puts this plan as the single way and complicates it with many conversation choices (who will stand where)

This makes that solution time-consuming to write/script, thus making multiple solutions less likely or less deep.

 

If the entire quests is designed so there is only one solution - then it's fine.

 

But if for example, I want to track down who hired the assasin or try to secretly bribe the assasin or something else, that is far harder to pull off in your system.

 

 

 

I don't mind scripted options when they're based on character knowledge, because, at that point, leaving it up to the player would be kind of ridiculous, if the character would never have not-done something you fail to do. In other words, "I'll just waltz out into the courtyard naked, and no one take up strategic positions anywhere, and we'll totally ambush this guy!" is not even a feasible plan. I think at that point, despite your main character's dialogue/scripted choice, one of your companions would chime in with "That's preposterous. If you're going to be an idiot, I'M going to lead this ambush plan, and we'll do whatever we damn well please without your consent."

 

You can't handle everything trough dialogue. It becomes far too clunky.

 

Not to mention that if we follow the above train of thought, the player should really have minimal input on everything.

Wouldn't the character in combat automaitcly pick the best weapon for the job and the best positons and targets? OR smart conversation options?

 


* 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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I agree with the OP's frustrations, and would suggest two points.

 

a) No repositioning of units as a result of dialogue engagement. This should mean that my wizard doesn't get pulled into melee range to chat with an obvious assassin. Equally, if my thief loses stealth and is engaged in dialogue, the rest of my party shouldn't automatically teleport to protect him.

 

2) Please, please, please, please, PLEASE can we assign a designated 'talker' for the party. It seems like so many crpgs give us dialogue skills almost exclusively for back line troops and then force us to change formation for every interaction. If my party is addressed my smooth-talking Bard shouldn't become all coy when he's stood three foot behind my half-orc barbarian. The formation changes are just fiddly and in the context of dialogue engagement really offer very little. If they're a full screen behind then fair enough, but if we're addressed as a party then let us respond as a party.

 

Excellent thread with some really good points. I really like suggestion 2 of having a point man who if we have to walk up and talk if need be while others remain positioned back.

 

Off topic:

 

A Lannister always pays his debts.

 

For everyone else, there's Mastercard.

 

Had me burst out laughing while reading this thread.


"He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster...when you gaze long into the abyss the abyss also gazes into you..." - Friedrich Nietzsche

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