Skills and Spells suggestion thread

For all Bard's Tale IV discussion that does not fit elsewhere, suggestions, feedback, etc. No spoilers allowed.

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Crosmando » May 23rd, 2017, 11:31 pm

Drool wrote:
May 23rd, 2017, 9:49 pm
Gizmo wrote:
May 23rd, 2017, 5:22 pm
I think that it IS required in some aspect, to allow the game to know the character. If the game doesn't care, then I doubt it's an RPG.
So you don't consider Bard's Tale or Wasteland an RPG either. Okay.

Crosmando wrote:
May 23rd, 2017, 12:53 am
So you're fine with spellcasters getting dozens of spells, but giving the rogue 3 new abilities is "too complex"?
Yes.
Also you do know that rogues disarmed traps in classic BT, it's a natural evolution of that that they can use traps of their own.
I'm well aware that they had a percentile based version of TRZP, yes.
Well, to be fair, it already seems like BT4 is going in the direction of customization and abilities for all classes though:
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Gizmo » May 24th, 2017, 12:50 am

Drool wrote:
May 23rd, 2017, 9:49 pm
So you don't consider Bard's Tale or Wasteland an RPG either. Okay.
That's actually true (I assumed it was obvious when I mentioned Grimrock), but I don't know wasteland enough to really (fairly) say. I've played it many times, but I haven't yet finished it myself, and have only watched Tord's Let's Play through to the end... and with him being such a great roleplayer, it's hard distinguish the game from his fiction. But my assumption is no —and yet...

There is also the fact that the age of the titles really does impose a sliding scale. Their hardware spec, and the expectations of the day class them as (honorary :mrgreen: ) RPGs to me, but I'd never accept similar titles as RPGs these days**, even if done to the same hardware spec.

It's interesting that the same could be said of 'Eye of the Beholder'. It HAD alignments, but they were purely decorative, and useless in the game. Beside, the game had almost no interaction with NPCs, outside of a couple one-off bits of exposition, offers to join, and begging resurrection from the dwarven healer.

**I'm certainly not one to hope for an exact clone (of BT, Wasteland, or Fallout 2), as some people have been accused; including myself. No one (but maybe Krellin) wanted that. I just want a sequel that plays like it grew from the same root. (I don't actually care if BT4 is an RPG or not; as I've said, with dungeoncrawlers, I'm more interested in the map; and that's the thing that will disappoint if it seems lacking.)
Crosmando wrote:
May 23rd, 2017, 11:31 pm
Well, to be fair, it already seems like BT4 is going in the direction of customization for all classes though
As long as they don't have a silly re-spec option, it can't be that terrible; or at least... not as terrible as it would be if they did.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by thebruce » May 24th, 2017, 6:23 am

Gizmo wrote:
May 23rd, 2017, 8:52 pm
thebruce wrote:
May 23rd, 2017, 7:47 pm
Ah, ok, so you have your own definition of an RPG which fits what you prefer to see in the game, got it.
That's like telling someone they have their own interpretation of gravity, or of what the Sun is.
Actually no, you're saying that an RPG game is not an RPG game if it does not have an alignment attribute. Decades of RPG games that do not have an alignment attribute disagree. But you would claim they are not RPG games, or that anyone who claims they are RPG games are simply wrong. That makes me :lol:

I don't agree, and I find it impossible to believe that you'd find any kind of general support for the no-true-scotsman premise that a "real" RPG must include character alignment.
The alignment mechanic by itself is meaningless. Its mechanical purpose is to restrict**; that's what it's for. It's moot if the (game never uses it. There are situations in some RPGs where the alignment is required to be of a specific one to proceed.)
Sure.
I am simply arguing that I don't want Bard's Tale IV to include an independent, explicit, restrictive, alignment attribute on my characters. I want my character 'alignment' to be reflected in how I play, not have how I play that aspect of my characters restricted by the attribute.
You don't have to explain to me how the concept of alignment works. I understand full well. I don't want its restrictiveness on my characters, and I deny any claim that if a game doesn't have the attribute then it's not a role playing game (an idea I find simply ridiculous, no offense).
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Crosmando » May 24th, 2017, 8:04 am

Gizmo is one of those NMA people who thinks a game needs branching CYOA dialogue to be considered an "RPG".
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by paultakeda » May 24th, 2017, 8:53 am

Alignment is not necessary for a game to be considered an RPG. That's ludicrous. The term RPG is extremely broad and covers a lot of ground.

As to alignment in BT -- only if the Celtic themes explored in this version of the game are fully realized, then perhaps something that can restrict characters can be allowed, or at least allow for penalties (say a druid might be restricted by code or lore from using swords, but nothing prevents a druid from actually using one so long as they incur penalties -- say on their spell casting).

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Gizmo » May 24th, 2017, 10:55 am

thebruce wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 6:23 am
Gizmo wrote:
May 23rd, 2017, 8:52 pm
thebruce wrote:
May 23rd, 2017, 7:47 pm
Ah, ok, so you have your own definition of an RPG which fits what you prefer to see in the game, got it.
That's like telling someone they have their own interpretation of gravity, or of what the Sun is.
Actually no, you're saying that an RPG game is not an RPG game if it does not have an alignment attribute.
No; read through it again if you like. Fallout doesn't have an alignment attribute, and it's one of the best RPGs that I have played. My earlier quote said, "aspect", and mentioned the abstract nature of the mechanic; which also relies on their being some use for it in the game's content. It also mentioned games that didn't have that usage.

*It wouldn't matter or mean much for the designer to be able to detect the PC's morals and ethical limitations, of they did nothing with it, and never acknowledged it; or any change in it.
...not have how I play that aspect of my characters restricted by the attribute.
... I don't want its restrictiveness on my characters...
Characters are by definition, restrictive. You must play within their limits, or it is out of character. Even if you choose some of those limits yourself, they should still restrict, and not be trivial to change.
__
Realms of Arkania has no alignment, but does have an interesting system that includes positive and negative character attributes. Having a highly superstitious character character reduces their resistance to magic. A PC with an avarice streak might compulsively steal in times when they are overcome with the urge —even when highly inconvenient to the party. The very curious ones might set off traps from... being too curious. These actions are all in-character, whether the player likes them or not.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by thebruce » May 24th, 2017, 11:25 am

Gizmo wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 10:55 am
thebruce wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 6:23 am
Gizmo wrote:
May 23rd, 2017, 8:52 pm
That's like telling someone they have their own interpretation of gravity, or of what the Sun is.
Actually no, you're saying that an RPG game is not an RPG game if it does not have an alignment attribute.
No; read through it again if you like. Fallout doesn't have an alignment attribute, and it's one of the best RPGs that I have played. My earlier quote said, "aspect", and mentioned the abstract nature of the mechanic; which also relies on their being some use for it in the game's content. It also mentioned games that didn't have that usage.

*It wouldn't matter or mean much for the designer to be able to detect the PC's morals and ethical limitations, of they did nothing with it, and never acknowledged it; or any change in it.
1. An RPG doesn't need any "aspect" of character alignment effects in the game in order to be considered a role playing game, let alone an independent character trait.
2. Go back, I started off by saying the alignment attribute is not what I want to see, not any resulting effects of my decision-making in the game world.
3. So apart from the commonly accepted definition of an RPG (you're wrong), and whether you'd prefer lasting in-game effects from gameplay decisions (possible difference of opinion), what is it you are disagreeing with?
...not have how I play that aspect of my characters restricted by the attribute.
... I don't want its restrictiveness on my characters...
Characters are by definition, restrictive. You must play within their limits, or it is out of character. Even if you choose some of those limits yourself, they should still restrict, and not be trivial to change.
As I said, I know it's just another trait that affects gameplay. I said I don't want this trait as an independent limiting character attribute in Bard's Tale 4.
I do want my class to affect what my characters can do.
I do not want the game to limit what moral/ethical actions I can take, though I am not opposed to having my moral/ethical actions affect the world within reason.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Gizmo » May 24th, 2017, 11:58 am

thebruce wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 11:25 am
1. An RPG doesn't need any "aspect" of character alignment effects in the game in order to be considered a role playing game, let alone an independent character trait.
That aspect is part of the role, how can the engine know what your PC wouldn't do, unless it's told?
What problem do you have with Planescape's method? It simply brands the PC according to the player's choice of actions; it's a bit of a heuristic approach.

**You realize, (do you not?), that I haven't asked for an alignment attribute in Bard's Tale 4?

***Also... while it's just a reminder/guide to the player, its real value can be for the designer (should they but choose to use it. :( ), Where a quest could conditionally change based on the alignments of the characters in play. An NPC's entire demeanor could be changed because of it; chunks of the story could become inappropriate, and switched out for different ones. It's the bane of the blank-slate PC that the designer knows so little about them, and must create for an unknown actor. I've seen games that refer to female PC's as men, simply because the designer didn't think to check. In my own mods, the dialog scripts choose proper pronouns based on —checking the gender of the PC.
As I said, I know it's just another trait that affects gameplay. I said I don't want this trait as an independent limiting character attribute in Bard's Tale 4.
This isn't really an issue if all the PCs are sociopathic true neutrals; but it doesn't offer much in the way of roleplaying, when anything at all is on the table.

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Drool » May 24th, 2017, 1:22 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 10:55 am
No; read through it again if you like. Fallout doesn't have an alignment attribute
What do you think Karma was?
Gizmo wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 10:55 am
Realms of Arkania has no alignment, but does have an interesting system that includes positive and negative character attributes.[...] These actions are all in-character, whether the player likes them or not.
Merits and Flaws by another name.
Gizmo wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 12:50 am
I don't know wasteland enough to really (fairly) say. I've played it many times, but I haven't yet finished it myself
Spoiler: There's no alignment in Wasteland. Slaughtering children in Highpool? No penalty. Killing everyone in the Savage Village? No penalty. Brutally gun down Faran Brygo and everyone else in Vegas? No penalty.
It's interesting that the same could be said of 'Eye of the Beholder'. It HAD alignments, but they were purely decorative, and useless in the game.
All the Gold Box games, really. There were only a couple where Good people wouldn't party with Evil, but you just made the party all Good or all Evil.
paultakeda wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 8:53 am
Alignment is not necessary for a game to be considered an RPG. That's ludicrous. The term RPG is extremely broad and covers a lot of ground.
The purest role-playing experience I've ever had with an RPG was playing Amber. Amber has no alignment system.

Alignment systems were a way to describe your character to tell the DM what to expect and to give the player guidance on how the character should act in a given situation. But even the most Neutral Evil monster can perform a good act if they want to. With CRPGs, they just because a way to moralize at the playerbase. Considering how much people complained about omniscient NPCs magically knowing if you were good or evil in the Fallout games, it's really damn bizarre to suddenly see it become a Core Defining Component of RPGs.
Gizmo wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 11:58 am
This isn't really an issue if all the PCs are sociopathic true neutrals; but it doesn't offer much in the way of roleplaying, when anything at all is on the table.
Your grasp of roleplaying is completely and utterly backwards. If everything isn't on the table, you can't roleplay. If my alignment only gives me one choice, I'm not roleplaying; I'm reading a story.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Gizmo » May 24th, 2017, 4:41 pm

Drool wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 1:22 pm
What do you think Karma was?
It was a tally of good & bad deeds; not a code of ethics. Also You could get both good and bad karma unintentionally.
Gizmo wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 10:55 am
It's interesting that the same could be said of 'Eye of the Beholder'. It HAD alignments, but they were purely decorative, and useless in the game.
All the Gold Box games, really. There were only a couple where Good people wouldn't party with Evil, but you just made the party all Good or all Evil.
'Eye of the Beholder' wasn't a Gold-Box title; (It was a "Legend Series" title—and the box was Black :mrgreen: ).
Your grasp of roleplaying is completely and utterly backwards. If everything isn't on the table, you can't roleplay. If my alignment only gives me one choice, I'm not roleplaying; I'm reading a story.
I say that it is you that has it backwards. If everything is on the table, then there is nothing they wouldn't do; that means it's impossible to play out of character, because there are no bounds to stay within. That's not playing a role, because a role is the bounds to stay within. Just because you're stuck in the yard, doesn't mean you have to play on the swing-set. Having bounds doesn't limit you to a single choice. It means that your choices should be the ones acceptable (or the ones possible) to the character. Killing the shop-keeper to have their cash and merchandise for free simply isn't on the table for all PCs —or they are not who they think they are. —Which adds a whole new dimension to roleplaying; imagine trying to roleplay the character of Elliot in Mr. Robot. :shock:

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by thebruce » May 24th, 2017, 7:52 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 11:58 am
thebruce wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 11:25 am
1. An RPG doesn't need any "aspect" of character alignment effects in the game in order to be considered a role playing game, let alone an independent character trait.
That aspect is part of the role, how can the engine know what your PC wouldn't do, unless it's told?
By remembering what I've done and presenting lasting effects.
**You realize, (do you not?), that I haven't asked for an alignment attribute in Bard's Tale 4?
Yes. I posted a side comment that I hoped BT4 did not come with an alignement character attribute. You responded, and the rest is history.
***Also... while it's just a reminder/guide to the player, its real value can be for the designer (should they but choose to use it. :( ), Where a quest could conditionally change based on the alignments of the characters in play.
If it's based on how I have played my character to that point, then yes. If it's based on a static attribute that pre-emptively restricts my choices, then no. As I said, again, I want my actions to determine (if at all) my characters' presence, acceptance, and options within the world, not the game to proactively limit my options before I've had a chance to let my character do anything. This is about the attribute, not the results/consequences of actions within the world.
As I said, I know it's just another trait that affects gameplay. I said I don't want this trait as an independent limiting character attribute in Bard's Tale 4.
This isn't really an issue if all the PCs are sociopathic true neutrals; but it doesn't offer much in the way of roleplaying, when anything at all is on the table.
Sure it does. It means I have choice, agency, based on how I want to role play my characters. Again, if I play my paladin, and I want him to be good, he won't DO evil things, even though those options are available. If I DO do them, then sure, the game can react accordingly. But don't proactively limit my choices based on a metric that is not related to my actions. Not in Bard's Tale.
Gizmo wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 4:41 pm
Your grasp of roleplaying is completely and utterly backwards. If everything isn't on the table, you can't roleplay. If my alignment only gives me one choice, I'm not roleplaying; I'm reading a story.
I say that it is you that has it backwards. If everything is on the table, then there is nothing they wouldn't do;
No, there is nothing they couldn't (by moral selection) do. I'm a 'good person', but I still have choices to make about whether I want to steal that donut, or lie about anything. But if I'm good, my choice will be to not do that. Everything is on the table, but I choose (or I "role play") my character's alignment - I don't want a static attribute restricting my choices and taking away my agency. Not in Bard's Tale.
that means it's impossible to play out of character, because there are no bounds to stay within.
Nope, it means you now have complete autonomy to role play the characters exactly as you want to role play them, and deal with any benefits or consequences that result.
Just because you're stuck in the yard, doesn't mean you have to play on the swing-set. Having bounds doesn't limit you to a single choice.
If I'm 300lbs, I don't want some invisible wall stopping me from sitting on the swing if I want to. The consequence may be a pair of bruised buttocks when it breaks, but the option is there. If I've chosen to wear dark and have a reputation for pick pocketing in the shadows, I don't want to be unable to do any good deed in daylight if I want to. But if I do, I'll have to live with the possibility of a damaged reputation or people running away before I can say something nice. NOT because my static attribute has limited those choices, but because I've built that system for my character based on how I played them.
It means that your choices should be the ones acceptable to the character.
Nope, no fun in that. Choice leads to reward or consequence, especially when it comes to moral and ethical decisions in the game world. Everything on the table, let me decide.

...All as it pertains to the Bard's Tale 4 game in development.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Gizmo » May 24th, 2017, 9:32 pm

thebruce wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 7:52 pm
By remembering what I've done and presenting lasting effects.
Isn't that exactly what Planescape did?
If it's based on how I have played my character to that point, then yes. If it's based on a static attribute that pre-emptively restricts my choices, then no. As I said, again, I want my actions to determine (if at all) my characters' presence, acceptance, and options within the world, not the game to proactively limit my options before I've had a chance to let my character do anything. This is about the attribute, not the results/consequences of actions within the world.
I would say that it should depend on the game. Sadly too few RPGs these days will assign the player a character, and deliver a tailored campaign, but even in most of those the player still chooses the personality; (sometimes the gender). Of RPGs that include choosing an alignment (of any kind), the player probably makes that choice themselves, so it IS the way the player has chosen for their character to act. If the game treats alignment as static... well that is what they chose.

Myself, I don't dislike static alignment, but I think it better if it's mutable over the course of the game; whether that be dynamic, or due to traumatic events. In Baldur's Gate, my party joined with Korgan Bloodaxe, to find his lost caravan. He's an evil fellow that had a most unfair trick played on him. His traveling companions gifted him a cursed helmet of alignment reversal, and he himself became one of the do-gooders that so disgusted him. And so it was for the rest of the game.

I rather prefer the way Planescape did it. One of the effects of it though, was an inability to use a certain weapon due to an alignment clash. Nameless was never able to prove himself worthy to be accepted by it.

Not all aspects of the PC should be under player control; and it was not so, even in Bard's Tale.
I'm a 'good person', but I still have choices to make about whether I want to steal that donut, or lie about anything. But if I'm good, my choice will be to not do that.
Really? That's a thing?
Nope, it means you now have complete autonomy to role play the characters exactly as you want to role play them, and deal with any benefits or consequences that result.
To me that seems like making changes of convenience; re-writing the role at whim, to suit one's mood. That's like roleplaying Indiana Jones, and deciding that he doesn't care about the snakes in the tomb, because he want's the magic +5 whip.
If I'm 300lbs, I don't want some invisible wall stopping me from sitting on the swing if I want to.
You miss the point. That quote describes someone under the false impression that the only thing to do in the confines of the yard is to play on the swings. There is no restriction against doing so, it points out that there are more things to do in the yard than swing.
It means that your choices should be the ones acceptable to the character.
Nope, no fun in that.
What else should it mean then? (That they should have choices they cannot accept, or cannot pull off?)

To use a twist on the expression: It's like writing checks that their body (and mind) can't cash.

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 24th, 2017, 10:58 pm

I probably shouldn't be heaping fuel on another 10-page Gizmo-vs-everyone-else thread in the making, especially since we just finished up one of those a month or two ago, but....
  • What is one's definition of a role? Are we talking classes/professions or moral attitudes? Do certain classes imply certain moral attitudes? If role-playing means playing a profession, do the moral choices really matter? Even if playing a role includes moral attitudes, then why should I be restricted to a game's interpretation of those attitudes? Let me play a role the way I want to play it.
  • The boundaries between moral alignments are somewhat blurred. In games with dialogues which present various choices of responses, I am often frustrated by how the game's developers perceive certain choices. I could think that I am playing a Chaotic Good character and somehow my actions will get treated as though they are some for of Evil or Chaotic Neutral. For example, if I choose to mete out vigilante justice to an NPC who I think deserves it, who are the game's developers to treat my character's action as though that character is bad? Having these systems of choices with their assumed moral labels imposes on one's play style and prevents truly expressive role-playing.
  • Codification of moral alignment is hard because semantics are involved. Furthermore, classification of actions is largely contextual. Computer programs, as made with today's technology, are ill-suited to this. Better to not even try, and artificially restrict someone's ability to play a role in the process, than to just let the player freely choose how to play a role.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by thebruce » May 25th, 2017, 6:31 am

All of what noblesse said. Which raised another good point I failed to touch on. When alignment is defined - that is, good/evil/chaotic/lawful, and game options are restricted or allowed based on those labels, then the developers have instilled their own interpretations of such attitudes and morals on the game players. That's different (though not night and day) than actions having reasonable consequences that developers have considered.

For me, having an alignment attribute which defines how the game reacts to my character(s) is 1] akin to game creators enforcing their interpretations of moral and ethical lines, and 2] pre-emptively defining my in-game choices not based on what I have actually done. And no, creating a character isn't my character doing anything in the game world - that's me as a gamer putting more specificity in defining my character. For me, ethics and morality are choices I make in the context of the world around me, not the same as tangible aspects to my character's appearance and skills.

So once again, I don't want to see alignment having an effectual presence as a character attribute in BT4.

Gizmo wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 9:32 pm
thebruce wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 7:52 pm
By remembering what I've done and presenting lasting effects.
Isn't that exactly what Planescape did?
I don't know, I haven't played Planescape, or nearly as many games as you. But I do know that what Planescape and other games did is irrelevant to my point.
I would say that it should depend on the game.
Yes! Thank you. Not in Bard's Tale 4. =P
Of RPGs that include choosing an alignment (of any kind), the player probably makes that choice themselves, so it IS the way the player has chosen for their character to act.
No, that's not what I said. I don't want to tell the game how my character must act and thus restrict my choices before I've even made any. I want to define my character's tangible physical attributes then ROLE PLAY that character myself. That means my choices are in the role I am actively playing within the vessel that is my character.

Skillsets (classes) are similar, but as I said earlier, I do want to define my character's abilities (and have those as limitations*), but I don't want to have the game limit my moral and ethical choices without reason - that is, strictly by a label I was forced to apply to my character (whether static or mutable based on its current state).
* I've also discussed the possibility of performing actions that are not of the character class... just like 'uncharacteristic' moral and ethical choices, if all skills were on the table, then your character's specialties would of course be most efficient and effective, while if a bulky armour-wearing knight tried to pickpocket a child there's a strong chance of failure. Whether the game allows or restricts that 'skill' (not the moral choice) based on class, I could go either way - and that's because, as I just mentioned, I'm more hardlined about moral and ethical choices than practical skills and abilities.

I'm ok with game restrictions based on class, I'm not ok with game restrictions based on an alignment label rather than my past choices.
Myself, I don't dislike static alignment, but I think it better if it's mutable over the course of the game; whether that be dynamic, or due to traumatic events.
Sure. But I'd rather the specific effects be due to specific choices I've made, not where the developers have chosen my alignment dot to fall on a subjective grid by interpreting my actions into labels.
Nope, it means you now have complete autonomy to role play the characters exactly as you want to role play them, and deal with any benefits or consequences that result.
To me that seems like making changes of convenience; re-writing the role at whim, to suit one's mood. That's like roleplaying Indiana Jones, and deciding that he doesn't care about the snakes in the tomb, because he want's the magic +5 whip.
If I'm roleplaying Indiana Jones, then I'd have had Indiana Jones do just what he did, because his character is like that. It would otherwise have been uncharacteristic. But Indy had to make that choice! There was no barrier saying "Nope, this is out of character, you have no other choice but to face the snakes." All choices on the table, you know your character, your choices define that character, not some arbitrary invisible alignment-keeper.
You could say he had no option to make another choice because that's the story. Well yup, guess what, now as Drool said, "I'm not roleplaying; I'm reading a story."
If I'm 300lbs, I don't want some invisible wall stopping me from sitting on the swing if I want to.
You miss the point. That quote describes someone under the false impression that the only thing to do in the confines of the yard is to play on the swings. There is no restriction against doing so, it points out that there are more things to do in the yard than swing.
Analogies are never perfect. And you missed the point of the adjustment. The wall is entirely arbitrary. You put a wall around the playground between me and outside world. I posited a wall between me and the swingset. What's the difference? There isn't any. If a wall is there for a universal reason, the same for everyone, that's not the same as a wall put in place by some invisible warden making sure that my choices are only in alignment with their interpretation of what I should and shouldn't be able to do.

If the swingset had a sign saying "maximum weight: 100lbs, children only" then I'd have a choice to make given a stronger hint that there may be lasting consequences. That is better than some arbitrary restriction making it impossible for me to sit on the swing.
It means that your choices should be the ones acceptable to the character.
Nope, no fun in that.
What else should it mean then? (That they should have choices they cannot accept, or cannot pull off?)
Yes. And if I choose that, the consequence is practical and reasonable, based on past chocies and experiences.
But moving away from practical effectual abilities in the world and returning to purely moral ones:
1. I'm a good person, and quite capable, strong, fast. But I find it wrong to mug people and steal.
2. I'm in a dark alley blanketed in shadows and see someone alone, much smaller, carrying a wad of cash.
3. I have a choice to make. I'm 98% confident I could successfully steal the cash and get away without incident whatsoever, and be better off with free money. Do I?
* Your game would say NOPE, you're lawful good, you can't do that.
* My game would say sure, that option is available. And there's no immediate discernable consequence.
I like my game better. My choice defines my character.
- If I do mug the person, I am now a good person who just denied his moral conscience, and has to live with that. That is my character, that is the role I played.
- If I don't mug the person, I've demonstrated to myself my own integrity despite no one seeing, no one praising me, I've maintained for myself the moral conscience I promote. That is my character, that is the role I played.

Now perhaps down the line, there is a reward or consequence. NOT because of some arbitrary label placed on my character, but because the practical result of my mugging or leaving has affected that bystander, and later on I may meet them in some other context during which I may receive that cash (perhaps with a bonus) in a legitimate way, or may not, depending on my previous choice.

I'd like to see reasonable rewards and consequences related to my actions and choices - not arbitrarily defined results based on associating actions with a subjective scale. Yes, it's easier programmatically to create a story based on a unified metric than trying to accomodate specific results for every possible choice a player can make, but assumptions then have to be made; or as Drool mentioned earlier, "I'm not roleplaying; I'm reading a story."

And Bard's Tale was never heavy on story, to that degree.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by ZiN » May 25th, 2017, 7:24 am

On another thread there's been talk about several evil skills such as:

- Energy drain: Very evil, makes vampires and such fearsome enemies and prime targets for quick elimination.

- Aging: Heavily drops most attributes (actually in the classics all were set to 1, but that's kind of over the top). Only high-level chronomancers and temples can cure this (at a steep cost). I'd advise adding a secret Fountain of Youth to the game somewhere.

- Phazing: Drains spell points (all SP in the classics). Deadly against mages, if one gets hit by one of these, it's pretty much over. Especially dangerous when combined with magic-immunity (eg. Vortexes).

- Turn-skippers: Players could also get this (HAFO spell). When larger numbers of enemies start to use these simultaneously, it can quickly get out of hand. Once you learn which creatures have this ability, it's usually better to run.

- Summoning: In BT2 you could run into Conjurers, who summoned wolves right at the beginning, and at that level a wolf could easily 1-hit kill anyone. The mages who summon walls from 70'-90' away and pelt you with spells. Herbs can also multiply and hail the party with ice-storms @ 60'. Even though it doesn't hurt that much it can pretty much bring a fight to a stalemate. Oh and Tarjan himself wasn't too shabby with summons. The good news is that these can become easy XP farming once you can deal with them.

- Possession : It wasn't always obvious when a character was possessed, and they sometimes turned on you at the worst possible moment.

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Gizmo » May 25th, 2017, 10:57 am

@_noblesse_oblige_ These were good points; allow me offer my answer to some of them.
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 10:58 pm
What is one's definition of a role? Are we talking classes/professions or moral attitudes? Do certain classes imply certain moral attitudes?
I have never equated vocation with identity. So I've never considered the PC's training to be their role. When I make a character I give it a name, that name is an individual, one shaped by their past. One's character class is their (at least one-time) aspiration in life; what they were interested in before the game began. It's why they are already competent in certain skills, and not others; possibly why they are (in some systems) biased against certain unrelated skills. Why would a wizard be willingly reduced to swinging a spiked club at an opponent... how could they convince themselves it was worth their time to learn that; or not be embarrassed to be seen doing that? Perhaps they are too arrogant to be pragmatic.
(Of course it's actually just balancing the system, with it draped in whatever fiction that fits; if any is given at all.)

But a class doesn't define the person. There are Gandalfs and there are Sarumans; both wizards, but both very different individuals—with different limitations, weaknesses, strengths, and willingness to help (or hurt) others, to attain their goals.

Am I the only one here who changes attitude in dialogs depending on which character is conversing? (I hope not)
I wouldn't necessarily want to make the same dialog choice playing Viconia (the Drow), as I would playing Tiax (the mad cleric).
(And I would certainly prefer different dialog options for different PC's, depending on their different classes, stats, and alignments... :roll: )

*This actually has greater effect when the party is split up (in games where it can be). See, I would never have lawful aligned PCs accompany the party's thief while they were out burgling houses; even though that might be the best way to defend them if they were caught.
It goes against the lawful character's deeply held beliefs; and should break friendships and acquaintances if it came to it.

As far as the role goes... I always ask, "What would this person be thinking?", or "what would they think to be proper in a given situation?". (With Baldur's Gate) Imagine the party is resting in the inn (injured), and the only fit character to send to complete the quest is the other cleric. She delivers and accepts the party's rewarded gold, and on the way back (by chance) passes a church. Would she donate a portion of each person's share of the reward? (Is this PC naive enough to think that because it's for their own good, that they would be okay with that? This of course would never happen if it was Imoen, Montaron, or Korgan returning with it.)
The boundaries between moral alignments are somewhat blurred. In games with dialogues which present various choices of responses, I am often frustrated by how the game's developers perceive certain choices. I could think that I am playing a Chaotic Good character and somehow my actions will get treated as though they are some for of Evil or Chaotic Neutral.
Josh Sawyer gave an interesting GDC talk that touched on that; and mentioned ambiguous dialog that could result unintended outcomes, including deadly combat... and generally how this was bad. He also mentioned the problem of having a 'right character', where if the player's PC was not the right kind of character —and they played them to the role, that they would lose, because they were not the right personality expected by the quest**; and that this also was generally bad. Tough problems whose solutions had to be planned out in advance, or become very difficult to fix.

**I touched on similar when I mentioned alignments changing the details of certain quests; or excluding them outright... It's to avoid doing a quest with the wrong type of character.

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Drool » May 25th, 2017, 12:31 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 4:41 pm
I say that it is you that has it backwards. If everything is on the table, then there is nothing they wouldn't do; that means it's impossible to play out of character, because there are no bounds to stay within.
I honestly don't know how to respond to this. I can't even get to a point where I can comprehend how you could even have such a fundamental misunderstanding of what role-playing is, let alone start to address it.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Gizmo » May 25th, 2017, 8:27 pm

Drool wrote:
May 25th, 2017, 12:31 pm
I honestly don't know how to respond to this. I can't even get to a point where I can comprehend how you could even have such a fundamental misunderstanding of what role-playing is, let alone start to address it.
Image
Why not start with a brief outline of your own?

(But perhaps we need a different thread for this tangent.)

I'd give skill suggestions, but I don't know the depth they intend. I suspect (and don't fault them for it) that they will not have it too deep. The original wasn't like TES or PoR. They probably won't have a use for a 'wine historian', 'wheelwright', or fletching skill; not anymore than WL2 had for Radiation technologist.

*I just totally realized that Fallout had both Doctor & First Aid skills, probably because Wasteland had Doctor & Medic. :idea:

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Drool » May 26th, 2017, 8:46 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 25th, 2017, 8:27 pm
Why not start with a brief outline of your own?
If they players don't have choices, they aren't playing a role; they're following a script.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Gizmo » May 26th, 2017, 9:50 pm

Drool wrote:
May 26th, 2017, 8:46 pm
Gizmo wrote:
May 25th, 2017, 8:27 pm
Why not start with a brief outline of your own?
If they players don't have choices, they aren't playing a role; they're following a script.
I agree, but I don't know where you're getting the idea that the player would only have one choice in a situation. There could be half a dozen choices that don't clash with the PC's alignment.

If the game supports a dynamic alignment, there could be additional choices that push the edge, nudging them towards a change of alignment.

If the game simply gives them a choice of good/bad/neutral response (my least favorite; the simplified option), my own preference here would be that the PC gets less XP than standard for choosing an out of alignment option. This could even be the player deciding that the PC's current mood is irate, and they make an uncharacteristic choice... like backstabbing a foe that crippled their dog; or stealing from thieves; or (if evil) letting a victim go during a robbery —out of compassion; leaving witnesses that could send a posse after them and risking capture and lost loot because of it... and IMO they should still get less XP because it's still out of character. They don't become a better brigand by being a softy, and letting people escape them. They might start changing alignment though. ;)

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