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RPG's generally have a several ways party NPC's are done:

 

- Blank slates. They have no personality and are basicly mercenaries with no meaningfullinteraction... OR you build the whole party yourself

 

- Characters have their own personality and agendas.

 

Now I've seen a few promising kickstarters that try to combine this by having personaltiy traits in character creator that affect how a NPC reacts to certain situations.. However, this is not about that.

 

This is about the amount of influence the PC has over the party.

Sometimes it seem they have too much influence - being able to sway any party member to their POV.

Sometimes it seems that no one else seems to have any influence on them except the player.

 

that is something I want to avoid.

Basicly I desire a party that feels real.

NPC's that influence eachother (you say no, the other party member sez yes, the NPC likes him more than you and he does it), have their own agendas and thoughts and aren't there just to be the PC's underlings, or mouthpieces for something.

 

 

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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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This is about the amount of influence the PC has over the party.

Sometimes it seem they have too much influence - being able to sway any party member to their POV.

Sometimes it seems that no one else seems to have any influence on them except the player.

It's definitely quite heavy-handed in many games. I think the key is that you shouldn't be guaranteed to be able to influence them to some specific goal/point, but rather just to be able to influence them in general.

 

Like you said, at times, it seems like ONLY the PC can affect companions, when obviously, many things should affect them (including other people, and even just situational factors, etc.). It wouldn't really make any sense if a bunch of other stuff could influence them while you couldn't do so at all. Thus, I think the best approach is to just make sure the PC isn't THE determining factor for things. And it definitely shouldn't just be some persuasion ability.

 

The best example I can give is, with one party member who's up in arms about something, you might need to present an argument to them that shows how their own principles and reasoning can actually lead to a different decision than the one they're currently arriving at. Thus, they might reconsider, or do something slightly different, or even do something completely different. They might question the very nature of their current principles and such (maybe it's some code of their order, etc.). Now, with a different party member who's dead set on something, maybe no amount of conversation or reasonable points will affect them much. However, perhaps your actions will actually affect them. The things you do will cause them to reconsider/think about things. To use a very simplistic example, maybe they've been raised to believe that your PC's race is inherently self-centered and manipulative or something. And, while no amount of speaking will convince them of any other possibility, the way you choose to behave for the duration of your travels could very much affect the way they think about things. Then, that realization might ultimately affect something else not even related to your race, further down the road. Something that they feel similarly about, and reconsider.

 

That's the kind of influence I'd like to see. Influencing "change" from within. Not "I gave you a really good sales pitch, and now you like this product instead of hating it."

 

Maybe some Wizard is afraid of their powers (maybe they're mildly out-of-control, and they've hurt someone in the past or something?). So, maybe if you instill enough faith in them, that will affect their decision to actually attempt to confront that fear and be less afraid of their powers, rather than forever using them only as a last resort, ever. And maybe whether or not they use them in a given situation is quite important some other time(s). Etc.

 

You should be able to affect things people are already dealing with. Not just everything they think.

 

"Oh, you're a priest? Religion's STUPID! 8D!"

 

"My gods, you're right, PC! THANKS FOR SWAYING ME!"

 

Heh. No. But, if that priest's given order does something questionable, or he finds some conflict in their teachings that's only revealed by a particular situation, then you should be able to weigh in on it, and he should care what you think.

 

I think the main thing, in relation to existing games doing it wrong oftentimes, is that the matters upon which the player is able to influence the given companion is often the wrong matters. Like, "I'm not sure if it's okay to be a bloodthirsty warlord, or if I should maybe start a church. What do you think, PC?"

 

That's terrible. Because, you should be able to influence that character, but not over such an extreme distance. Maybe you can help a bloodthirsty warlord consider the value in not just always jumping straight to violence or something, as opposed to supporting the idea that the world's just a harsh place, and people who stand in your way are choosing to contend and deserve whatever you can dish out or something. But not "Is everything about me good, or should I become a completely different person?"

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 it the thought behind this but you also need to be careful in the execution of this. If you have the NPCs do their own thing too often then you'll just end up either needing to make blank slate NPCs or give in to the whims of your party which would take control away from how the player wishes to play the game. Which at least in my book is a bad thing. So I think this is more a flavor type of situation where a few disagreements between NPCs or NPCs and the PC go a long way but used too often it loses it's impact.

Still NPCs going against the PC or other NPCs isn't unheard of in any case. If I remember correctly there are more than a handful of NPC interactions in BG that cause them to fight each other. Keldorn v Anomen, Keldorn v Viconia, Korgan v Aerie, Edwin and Minsc, and a few others. Haer'Dalis would fight you in duel if you were romancing Aerie as well. Ignus, I'm pretty sure there might have at least 1 other, would attack you at the end of PS:T if you were too good. That's not to mention all the various ways you can get party memebers to just up and leave the party in various IE games or even in the DA series.

So yeah I think most NPCs should have a trigger/treshold that would cause them to leave the party. I think a few NPC v NPC or NPC v PC is a nice touch as well. But going overboard will actually make them less unique in my eyes and make the game itself less enjoyable. So while I'd like to see a tiny bit more of this sort of thing I'd rather it just continue on as it has been in past rather than see it get used too often.

K is for Kid, a guy or gal just like you. Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, since there's nothin' a kid can't do.

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^ I would just emphasize that you can have oodles of disagreements between the characters, as long as they aren't extreme ones. The two options aren't "agree or disagree so hard we fight," is all.

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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