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Author Topic: Actions have consequences: Reputation & Alignment  (Read 18305 times)
zenbitz
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« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2009, 11:42:33 PM »

Here is another idea for a scale - with 8 axes.

It is based on 8 chivalric virtues - or ideal qualities of a Knight.

8 chivalric virtues (anti virtues) <=> reputation.

Prowess (incompetence)
Courage (cowardice)
Loyalty (flexibility)
Honesty (untruthfulness)
Generosity (greed)
Courtesy (rudeness)
Mercy (cruelty)
Franchise (sloth, slovenleness)

All these could be related to "charisma" stats - but instead they are soley a function of what you do in the game.
Of course,  it's a dirty post apocalyptic game of survival, so one would expect Knights in Shining Armor to be rare...

Prowess - would be a direct measure of your ability in combat, as demonstrated in battle.
Courage - would be how many battles you flee from, or enter despite bad "odds"
Loyalty - once you've agreed to do something, do you carry it through?  Do you switch factions at your convenience?
Honesty - Do you lie?  Pathologically, or only when it benefits you?
Generosity - Do you grant favors (money, stuff), or do you hold out for the best price?
Courtesy - When you speak, are you a jerk or not?
Mercy - When you have defeated an opponent, or have someone dead to rights (literally "at your mercy") do you slay them?  torture them?  Or let them go?
Franchise - This is the trickiest one.  It actually (in this case) pertains to how you carry your self, and how you dress.   Are you a sloppy, dirty, unshaven scum bag?  Or are you the frozen waste equivalent of a knight in shining armor?

Quote
The Ridiculously Goody Two-Shoes
High levels of Generosity, Courtesy, Mercy, Honesty, and Loyalty

Quote
The Schizophrenic Neutral Dude
Very low Loyalty (high flexibility).  Likely low Honesty, but not pathological liar.  Everything else probably neutral!

Quote
The Jerk that does everything CUZ ITZ EVUL
Low Courtesy, Mercy, Honesty.  Probably low Loyalty, but could be either.

Quote
The psycho who wants to KILL EVERYTHING WITH FIRE!!
Hmmm.... Low Mercy?  Psycho to me == random, so I would guess everything else is kind of neutral. 

Any of the above could have high/low Prowess, Courage, and/or Franchise.   Well dressed Psychos!  Scruffy heros!
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eleazzaar
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« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2009, 12:00:50 AM »

http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php?topic=564.0

This is easily the best reputation system I've ever seen in a RPG. Much better than the usual "Evil vs Good" karma meter that leads to four kinds of character:

...

With something like AOD's reputation system, I can already see a lot of characters in my mind.

Thanks for the link.  I read the thread, i wish they had explained more of it.

Sure that system is better than the average one or two axis system, and it seems well-suited to their game-world.

But IMHO the system in the first post can actually define a broader range of characters than this AOD system.  "Body-count" and "combat" are functionally pretty similar. "Loyalty" doesn't make much sense in this game since there aren't expected to be powerful factions for you to follow.

So:
AOD's "combat" and "body count" maps roughly to "violent"
AOD's "peacemaker" maps roughly to "pacifistic"
AOD's "word of honor" maps roughly to the "honest <-> deceptive" scale.

Don't know exactly what "prestige" is, but that could correspond to "Reputation".

Additionally we have the "Generous <-> Thieving" scale, that AOD doesn't have anything to correspond to.
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eleazzaar
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« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2009, 01:14:59 AM »

Here is another idea for a scale - with 8 axes.

It is based on 8 chivalric virtues - or ideal qualities of a Knight.

Yeah, actually i looked into this idea at one point for a different project, though the number and identity of the virtues seems to vary quite a lot.  For instance "Faith" is often included.

The basic problem is that these axis are functionally different from one another.  Some like  "Prowess",  are no-brainers, there's no reasonable advantage to having "anti-prowess" i.e. incompetence.  Others like "Mercy" present an interesting role-playing choice to the player.

I don't think a good system would lump together axes that measure is weather the character is a looser or not, and other axes that measure which side of a moral dilemma he tends to choose.


Of course,  it's a dirty post apocalyptic game of survival, so one would expect Knights in Shining Armor to be rare...

Or even more importantly, who would be expected to even know (or care about) the virtues that knights theoretically held dear?  I'm assuming the use of the knightly names was just for an example.


Loyalty - once you've agreed to do something, do you carry it through?  Do you switch factions at your convenience?
Honesty - Do you lie?  Pathologically, or only when it benefits you?

Belonging to a faction doesn't seem like the sort of thing that meshes with our themes.  It's not so much a matter of being "alone against the wilderness" when you have membership in a wide-spread organization.  And doing what you promised to do, can fit just as well under "honesty".


Courtesy - When you speak, are you a jerk or not?

This is the one interesting thing that my 3 axes at the top don't do, that i thought a lot about incorporating.  After all, most RPGs have rude dialog options, presumably some players enjoy choosing them.  But it really didn't seem to belong.  "Rudeness" is simply a self-destructive behavior.  If the writer wants to deal with it, he can make the player loose out on information when he doesn't ask nicely.  On the positive side, the Charisma stat, and/or a "savior faire" skill providing additional dialog options seems redundant with tracking positive courtesy.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2009, 01:18:17 AM by eleazzaar » Logged
maximinus
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« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2009, 02:30:32 PM »

It would be of help to the programmers for you to say what effect these have in-game. I'm much more in favour of a few characteristics that have some noticable game effects than a load that have very little effect.

Also, I'm more in favour of having stats that are neither good nor bad, so we don't stat min-maxing all the time. For example, on the above example:

Prowess (incompetence)
Courage (cowardice)
Courtesy (rudeness)
Franchise (sloth, slovenleness)

Everybody is going to max out the first choice, who wants to play an incompetent, rude, lazy coward? (,,,,actually that sounds interesting in one way  Tongue ). It's harder, but I like stats that can be played both ways:

Libertarian <-> Authoritarian
Organised <-> Improvisational
Formal <-> Informal
Emotional <-> Stoic
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maximinus
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« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2009, 02:32:43 PM »

Of course, I'm guilty of not listening to my own advice, since I also fail to mention how these characteristics work in-game!
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eleazzaar
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« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2009, 06:52:12 PM »

It would be of help to the programmers for you to say what effect these have in-game. I'm much more in favour of a few characteristics that have some noticable game effects than a load that have very little effect.

I see them as being tools to record and identify large patterns of behavior, so the story-writers can get NPCs to sensibly react to the PC's overall behavior, without the need of building some absurdly huge tests.  In short they are to modify NPC reactions.

I also think it would be cool, (if not critical) for scores near either end of each axis to provide a special perk.  Like an extremely violent guy gets special powers of intimidation.


This much should be relatively straight forward.  The interesting part from a coding perspective is finding events to modify the axes.

Most RPGs only trigger alignment change through dialog tree choices.  That's fine as far as it goes, but what i'm proposing is that the engine tracks the PC's behavior in non-dialog situations.  There would need to be some sort of automatic way to grade the PC's actions.

For instance killing people who attacked the PC first would count for less movement toward violent than killing an NPC "in cold blood".  Letting your enemies live after fighting them would be only a small move towards violent.  On the flip side using bribes, persuasion or intimidation to chase off someone who would attack the PC should move them PC towards pacifistic.  Which means we would probably need to build in a way for the player to attempt to avoid any violent confrontation.





Movement along an Axis

I don't think i mentioned this before, but IMHO any 2-way alignment axes should have a sort of "inertia" towards the middle.  (see attached image).  In other words, the further you get from neutral, the "harder" it is to proceed, but the easier it is to go back toward neutral.

This roughly simulates how real reputations work.  Imagine two guys, one a well-know philanthropist, the other a notorious miser.  Then they both publicly donate a million dollars to a charity.  The philanthropist has done this many times before, so his reputation doesn't change much, however the miser since the action is a markedly different has a much bigger change of reputation.

Gameplay justification:  This allow the player reasonably flexibility.  While extreme axis alignments are hard to build up, they are relatively easy to undo, if the player wants to go the other way.  Additionally you can never build up such a surplus of "pacifism" (for instance), that you can then go around killing everyone and still be perceived as "pacifistic" since your many acts of pacifism outnumber you recent body-count.


* axis difficulty.jpg (35.12 KB, 400x200 - viewed 658 times.)
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eleazzaar
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« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2009, 06:53:48 PM »

Libertarian <-> Authoritarian
Organised <-> Improvisational
Formal <-> Informal
Emotional <-> Stoic

Of course, I'm guilty of not listening to my own advice, since I also fail to mention how these characteristics work in-game!

Are you actually proposing those, or merely citing them as examples?
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maximinus
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« Reply #22 on: March 30, 2009, 02:46:43 AM »

Libertarian <-> Authoritarian
Organised <-> Improvisational
Formal <-> Informal
Emotional <-> Stoic

Of course, I'm guilty of not listening to my own advice, since I also fail to mention how these characteristics work in-game!

Are you actually proposing those, or merely citing them as examples?

Mmmm..... good question  Undecided . Well, I see myself as a programmer, so I don't like to get in the way of the writers and artists, but I'm giving them as an example. Really, it's just my 2c. I like to say a bit more than 'I don't like those characteristics'; it's nice to say 'what about these'? Take 'em or leave 'em, it's all good  Wink
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freepower
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« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2009, 12:39:15 AM »

Quote
Now I am OK with this "battle_resolve_estimate" function being an estimate - for example, I think it should NOT account for character skills (unless reputation is huge) because NPC wouldn't know that your are a stone cold killer

From another thread...

A simple and fantasticly effective way to make a player with a badass character feel badass would be to have hostiles occasionally realise that you are a stone cold killer and try to flee. I recall one point in Fallout where my karma was so low that even the nastiest badass in the game didn't want to hire me for his dirty work.

The fact that a year later I'm mentioning that tells you how awesome it made me feel.

And here's a fascinating series on how game handled "evil" choices really well -

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/bastard-of-the-old-republic-article
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/bastard-of-the-old-republic-article_2
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/bastard-of-the-old-republic-part3
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mvBarracuda
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« Reply #24 on: April 27, 2009, 01:19:54 PM »

I'm all for offering choices and consequenes for badass characters. We should try to avoid cliches nevertheless so IMO it should not be always totally obvious which one the badass approach is. Choices should not always resolve around deciding between good and bad; there should be rather fractions with different interests and beliefs who react to the choices that you've made in the course of the game.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2009, 01:34:38 AM »

Quote
I also think it would be cool, (if not critical) for scores near either end of each axis to provide a special perk.  Like an extremely violent guy gets special powers of intimidation.

Since players (as a rule) tend to extremes anyway (I killed one guy... may as well kill the whole town), this is going to unbalance the game unless the perks are overcompensated by disadvantages (negative perks)


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JohnMAllen
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« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2009, 11:43:48 PM »

I may be going out on a limb here, but I'd like to see a system that rewards balance between two axes. I always feel limited when a game gives significant reward for going to extremes, and none for the balance. For one thing, it often renders neutral alignment choices as obsolete because choosing them would mean that I would miss out on stat bonuses for maxing my alignment early. It forces me to ultimately only be able to play two types of characters - psychotic serial killer and pussy-whipped goody-too-shoes.

To me, a game about "moralilty" is much more interesting if it allows you to explore the morally gray.
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eleazzaar
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« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2009, 09:18:56 PM »

Freepower:  That was a good article.  KotOR is a great game in a lot of ways.


.. We should try to avoid cliches nevertheless so IMO it should not be always totally obvious which one the badass approach is...

I don't understand how it could not be obvious, what do you mean?


Quote from: eleazar
I also think it would be cool, (if not critical) for scores near either end of each axis to provide a special perk.  Like an extremely violent guy gets special powers of intimidation.

Since players (as a rule) tend to extremes anyway (I killed one guy... may as well kill the whole town), this is going to unbalance the game unless the perks are overcompensated by disadvantages (negative perks)

It could be overpowering, but it doesn't have to be.  I don't envision these perks being super-powerful.  Much of their value to the player is supposed to be in the fact that the game is responding to the player's role-playing.


I may be going out on a limb here, but I'd like to see a system that rewards balance between two axes. I always feel limited when a game gives significant reward for going to extremes, and none for the balance. For one thing, it often renders neutral alignment choices as obsolete because choosing them would mean that I would miss out on stat bonuses for maxing my alignment early. It forces me to ultimately only be able to play two types of characters - psychotic serial killer and pussy-whipped goody-too-shoes.

To me, a game about "moralilty" is much more interesting if it allows you to explore the morally gray.

JohnMAllen, i don't think you read the beginning of this thread.  I've proposed 3 different axis, so even if all players go to one of the extremes there are 6 combinations (if i did my math right).  But the way i'm envisioning things i don't think it is likely that most players will go to an extreme on all alignments.  I certainly don't want to try to force the player to any extreme alignment. But it shouldn't be hard to make "pragmatism" (neutral alignment on one or more axis) it's own reward.

The basic idea is that the writer doesn't have to make a totally equivalent violent and non-violent (and generous/thieving, honest/deceptive) path through every problem.  Work in some common sense into the quest-design.  Sometimes the violent approach is not going to be the smart, practical, pragmatic approach... other times it will be.  A player who ignores the bottom line, and (for instance) constantly plays a generous character will naturally loose out on a lot of loot.  The player who kills whenever possible will realistically make a lot of enemies, and cut himself off from people who would otherwise help him.  The pragmatic (neutral) player is free to choose whichever options benefit him most in every situation.

I think such an approach strikes a realistic and interesting balance, and allows a lot of distinct role-playing opportunities.
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DK
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« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2009, 11:46:42 PM »

8 different variations... (2 cubed)


I like the system.. in favour of it allowing optimum progression through not minmaxing reps and skills, a mixture of things requried to compelte tasks.
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shevegen
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« Reply #29 on: June 27, 2009, 01:32:20 AM »

Personally I am not in huge favour of that "8 components" system, it seems a bit cliche-like DnD too much "good vs evil" and a bit too complex for my taste because I think we could do fine with a smaller system too, BUT I am actually indifferent to it. You guys put a lot of work into it, you have the momentum, you go forward with it Smiley if it needs readjustments those will happen anyway. Solid momentum beats sceptics! Cheesy so I happily hop around behind.

I would like to add to one thing though after a comment before:

Quote
choosing them would mean that I would miss out on stat bonuses for maxing my alignment early.

I think it should be decided whether the system should remain fair, or unfair.

BOTH decisions are fine, and I think it would be cool if the game-play could allow for a multitude of "character types", like the ultimate villain, or a ruthless but still helpful avenger kind, or the socialiazing scientist who tries to help and never harm anyone, but it should be decided which path to go.

- If the system is fair, then for choosing "evil vs good" paths any kind of permanent bonus should be somewhat fair and evenly distributed. An actor who is rather ruthless and evil should not gain more stat boosts than someone who is good, or vice versa. If a good path leads to +5 stat improves, a evil path should lead to +5 stat improves too. (Obviously, they should be exclusive of each other, else the evil path guy could gain +10 stats, which would be unfair)

- If the system is unfair, then we dont have to balance this at all or worry too much about it. A game should be fun.

Personally I would be for an unfair system no matter if ruthless actors are rewarded more or good actors are awarded more. One reason is that I think an unfair system does not have to take balance aspects into account much, so it could be simpler.
Obviously, we will have a reputation system which will result in consequences of actions anyway so if an actor kills every shopkeeper sooner or later people gonna know about that and avoid him. Or, hunters may hunt him and try to kill him.

I think actors should choose on their own what path they follow. Players could play with an evil char, or with a good char, and make many different decisions which lead to different boni or stats development. Both situations can be a lot of fun, and I think playing an evil char will ultimately be harder anyway if an actor does not socialize (hybrid guy who does good in general, but is sometimes evil would be interesting though like if he goes mad in one area and kills many people there).
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