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 Woolfe » May 27th, 2017, 5:57 am

But what is the point of the restriction, or the changing of alignment?

If you assume a world that reacts to your actions, is the concept of alignment simply not necessary? Aside from one or two cases like Priests whose gods force them to behave in a certain fashion, there is simply no need for it at all.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by thebruce » May 27th, 2017, 7:28 am

Gizmo wrote:
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.
But that 'wall' is entirely arbitrary. And that's what we don't like. It's based on the developers' opinion of what valid choices an "alignment" allows. If we have a character we have chosen to play in a certain way, then there is no mystical "wall", but our choices demonstrate our alignment and shape our character. No wall. Alignment is in the eye of the beholder.
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. ;)
All of this is more following a set script. In a game like BT where there's no interaction with NPCs to that level, dialogue options aren't a factor. In a game that's much heavier on a script and inter-character dialogue, an alignment attribute (static or dynamic) can have more of a place, if the devs want that sort of dialogue interaction. (as one possible example)

Not in Bard's Tale please.
Actions can have in-world benefits or consequences.
Don't pre-emptively restrict my action choices based on an alignment attribute that supposedly describes the nature of my actions!
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Gizmo » May 27th, 2017, 8:55 am

thebruce wrote:
May 27th, 2017, 7:28 am
But that 'wall' is entirely arbitrary. And that's what we don't like. It's based on the developers' opinion of what valid choices an "alignment" allows. If we have a character we have chosen to play in a certain way, then there is no mystical "wall", but our choices demonstrate our alignment and shape our character. No wall. Alignment is in the eye of the beholder.
This is moot, if the alignments are plainly defined; and picked by the player. Just pick one that has no moral fiber, and the PC can behave however you wish. :mrgreen:

**Oddly enough, 'Eye of the Beholder' was also a D&D dungeoncrawler. It had D&D alignments, but they seemed to be entirely decorative; (for rule compatibility. It was expected that players might choose to import their PnP characters into the game).

*** EoB didn't have any situations that were affect-able by alignment; I don't recall if BT did either.
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. ;)
All of this is more following a set script. In a game like BT where there's no interaction with NPCs to that level, dialogue options aren't a factor. In a game that's much heavier on a script and inter-character dialogue, an alignment attribute (static or dynamic) can have more of a place, if the devs want that sort of dialogue interaction. (as one possible example)

Not in Bard's Tale please.
Actions can have in-world benefits or consequences.
Don't pre-emptively restrict my action choices based on an alignment attribute that supposedly describes the nature of my actions!
Whose asking for that? Bard's Tale never had that; Grimrock didn't have that, EoB did, but never made use of it. BT, Grimrock, and EoB were dungeoncrawlers.
__
Woolfe wrote:
May 27th, 2017, 5:57 am
But what is the point of the restriction, or the changing of alignment?

If you assume a world that reacts to your actions, is the concept of alignment simply not necessary? Aside from one or two cases like Priests whose gods force them to behave in a certain fashion, there is simply no need for it at all.
Have you ever seen a film where a character wanted, or was asked to do... a thing that they may have felt was necessary, but ultimately could not willingly choose to do? A big stretch of the concept could almost see alignments as a kind of affective disorder. The point of any character is restriction; in some cases that restriction is less than one's own; in other cases it can be far more.

—Not alignment related, but pertinent...
A person might imagine it would be fun to do stand-up comedy to before an audience of thousands, but not be able to maintain their composure if actually put on stage and expected to perform; A person roleplaying the character of [Jerry] Seinfeld or George Carlin, would see them not having a problem going on stage, easily maintaining their composure, and having confidence enough to perform; most likely doing so very successfully in front of the crowd. It's the distinction between player and character; and it also works in reverse. Seinfeld could be roleplaying a straight laced non-comedic PC that simply cannot pull off an improve night club performance; and that's a restriction of playing that character. A thing that is trivial for him to do personally, is a great difficulty for the character he is playing.


Where this might apply to alignments is when a person considers that lying or stealing would solve their problem. But when it comes time to actually take the items (or to aggressively demand them from the owners by threatening force), they might realize that this is an action they cannot willingly go through with, and are already upset that they ever even considered it; if they got that far. In context... The PC is fleeing the law, they chance upon an unattended farm. There is a horse; do they take it? Taking the horse could mean inflicting a year's hardship on the owner (trying to save up for another horse), possibly even have them lose their crops for being unable to plant or harvest in time. Are they the kind of person that cares(?); or would they look for another way (one that doesn't harm this person, whose farm they've chanced upon)? Running from the law might mean fleeing a robbery with loot, fleeing an unpaid hotel bill, or fleeing a psychotic sheriff out to kill them for personal reasons. Are each of these equally worth stealing a farmer's horse to this character(?); potentially getting it killed*. (*And what about this from the horse's perspective?)

Another way this could apply is a 'save the orphanage' quest. The matron is facing debtor's prison. As above, lying or stealing (or extortion, or gambling) could solve their problem, but would the matron approve of any of these solutions? Does the PC lie to her about where the money came from? Does the PC care about putting them all at risk—because of where the money came from, if not honestly obtained? If stolen outright, does the PC justify somehow in their head? (by choosing a scoundrel to rob—instead of a rich noble, who though indifferent, is otherwise innocent of blame or involvement?)

Does the PC let the orphanage close, for finding no legal way to save it?
A character that holds a society's law above all else might do just that; and IMO should get the XPs' for failing the quest.
(But of course, the game would have to be able to discern either failing on purpose, or simply that lawful PCs must always fail that quest to get XP from it.)

In each case it is a deeply held restriction of the person's own will and sense of wellbeing; and of what is right in their opinion. It is the character's sense of right & wrong. *The character's own definition of wrong, could mean that it' feels very wrong not to take advantage of an easy mark or opportune situation at another's expense.

A for instance: Two detectives each (separately) lie their way into a country club to investigate. One thinks nothing of it, the other thinks it a necessary evil, but ultimately harmless... But then one of them furthers their lies by ordering meals, drinks, and services on someone else's club account; posing as a guest. This kind of action might be seen by the other as a dishonorable abuse of the account holder—and perhaps of their own person—for sinking so low as petty (or not so petty) theft.

The two detectives I had in mind were Fletch, and Sherlock Holmes; and regardless of my 'off the cuff' example (which may or may not accurately reflect these two), I'm hoping all can see the difference and/or significance made by a character's ethical restrictions, when deciding what specific PCs would (could, or perhaps could not) do in identical situations. And so their paths would necessarily deviate, as each must find their own way to their own solution.

*It's unfortunate for the player (in games) when ethical choices in conversations each lead to the same response and outcome; where aside of getting a lesser monetary reward, the only differences being in the player's own memory. :(

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by thebruce » May 27th, 2017, 9:36 am

Gizmo wrote:
May 27th, 2017, 8:55 am
Not in Bard's Tale please.
Actions can have in-world benefits or consequences.
Don't pre-emptively restrict my action choices based on an alignment attribute that supposedly describes the nature of my actions!
Whose asking for that? Bard's Tale never had that; Grimrock didn't have that, EoB did, but never made use of it. BT, Grimrock, and EoB were dungeoncrawlers.
No one. This whole thing started off by me saying I hoped that it wouldn't be a feature in BT4. It was a request. You drew it into a debate about what "alignment" is in an RPG (well, even saying it's not a "real" RPG without alignment in some form).
So I'll keep saying it - Not in Bard's Tale please.

thebruce wrote:
May 27th, 2017, 7:28 am
But that 'wall' is entirely arbitrary. And that's what we don't like. It's based on the developers' opinion of what valid choices an "alignment" allows. If we have a character we have chosen to play in a certain way, then there is no mystical "wall", but our choices demonstrate our alignment and shape our character. No wall. Alignment is in the eye of the beholder.
This is moot, if the alignments are plainly defined; and picked by the player. Just pick one that has no moral fiber, and the PC can behave however you wish.[/quote]
If the only option to have NO restrictions is to play neutral, then why have alignment as an option in the first place unless you WANT to be restricted in choices. I don't. Make BT4 PCs all neutral. Let me restrict my own choices by ROLE PLAYING the characters I design.


A person might imagine it would be fun to do stand-up comedy to before an audience of thousands, but not be able to maintain their composure if actually put on stage and expected to perform; A person roleplaying the character of [Jerry] Seinfeld or George Carlin, would see them not having a problem going on stage, easily maintaining their composure, and having confidence enough to perform; most likely doing so very successfully in front of the crowd.
It's not a moral choice. It's a practical one, and if your right to perform though you're not a good comedian is reasonably denied, then it's a restriction based (in this case) on skillset or reputation - past demonstrated experience level and ability. That's not the same as not even being able to choose to make the attempt for no other reason than your name doesn't have 'funnyman' beside it. And AGT has shown that unexperienced and/or previously unfunny people have been able to unexpectedly wow a crowd - should they have a priori been denied the opportunity? That's what a pre-emptive alignment attribute that affects choices merely by its label does. In some games, fine, as I described earlier. But not in Bard's Tale! Please.

Where this might apply to alignments is when a person considers that lying or stealing would solve their problem. But when it comes time to actually take the items (or to aggressively demand them from the owners by threatening force), they might realize that this is an action they cannot willingly go through with, and are already upset that they ever even considered it; if they got that far.
So let the player make that choice (ie, role play), don't restrict that choice a priori because of their label.
In context... The PC is fleeing the law, they chance upon an unattended farm. There is a horse; do they take it? Taking the horse could mean inflicting a year's hardship on the owner (trying to save up for another horse), possibly even have them lose their crops for being unable to plant or harvest in time. Are they the kind of person that cares(?); or would they look for another way (one that doesn't harm this person, whose farm they've chanced upon)? Running from the law might mean fleeing a robbery with loot, fleeing an unpaid hotel bill, or fleeing a psychotic sheriff out to kill them for personal reasons. Are each of these equally worth stealing a farmer's horse to this character(?); potentially getting it killed*. (*And what about this from the horse's perspective?)
"Are they kind person that..." -- is the game deciding? Or is the player deciding? *I* want to decide this moral dilemma, not the game for me. Example is just like the dark alley I described above.
Another way this could apply is a 'save the orphanage' quest. The matron is facing debtor's prison. As above, lying or stealing (or extortion, or gambling) could solve their problem, but would the matron approve of any of these solutions? Does the PC lie to her about where the money came from? Does the PC care about putting them all at risk—because of where the money came from, if not honestly obtained? If stolen outright, does the PC justify somehow in their head? (by choosing a scoundrel to rob—instead of a rich noble, who though indifferent, is otherwise innocent of blame or involvement?)
Ditto, once again.

In both choices, there are potential direct benefits and consequences (depending on the detail of game content; in BT each action had very little, if at all, moral/ethic consequence). So let me predict and weigh them, and decide which outcome is better and more appropriate for my character(s).
In each case it is a deeply held restriction of the person's own will and sense of wellbeing; and of what is right in their opinion. It is the character's sense of right & wrong. *The person's own definition of wrong, could mean that it' feels very wrong not to take advantage of an easy mark or opportune situation at another's expense.
Yes. The player decides.

All these examples are practical examples of where either the player makes the choice for their character, or the game proactively restricts choices based on what IT thinks are appropriate for the label. I do not like the latter in BT. I do like direct outcomes of my moral/ethical choices playing out, if that level of interaction is created in the game.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Gizmo » May 27th, 2017, 10:14 am

thebruce wrote:
May 27th, 2017, 9:36 am
No one. This whole thing started off by me saying I hoped that it wouldn't be a feature in BT4. It was a request. You drew it into a debate about what "alignment" is in an RPG (well, even saying it's not a "real" RPG without alignment in some form).
So I'll keep saying it - Not in Bard's Tale please.
Uh-huh. I am not disputing anything; nor asking for it in Bard's Tale... Unless they they radically shift focus away from the classic Bard's Tales, and try to parrot the quest structure and NPC interactivity of Elder Scrolls or aspects of Planescape for instance. This is very different from the NPC interactions in BT:2004.
thebruce wrote:
May 27th, 2017, 7:28 am
If the only option to have NO restrictions is to play neutral, then why have alignment as an option in the first place unless you WANT to be restricted in choices. I don't. Make BT4 PCs all neutral. Let me restrict my own choices by ROLE PLAYING the characters I design.
Neutrals are crazy. An example of true Neutral might be... Ah... would be Lord Gro, in "Worm Ouroboros". (A very interesting character too! 8-) )
A person might imagine it would be fun to do stand-up comedy to before an audience of thousands, but not be able to maintain their composure if actually put on stage and expected to perform; A person roleplaying the character of [Jerry] Seinfeld or George Carlin, would see them not having a problem going on stage, easily maintaining their composure, and having confidence enough to perform; most likely doing so very successfully in front of the crowd.
It's not a moral choice.
Yes. —Not alignment related. (but pertinent)
(ie, role play)
Meaning... (ie. At whim)?
...Meaning a wriggling amorphous personality with an unpredictable behavior, that you couldn't ever trust in a kitchen because of all the knives laying around?
"Are they kind person that..." -- is the game deciding? Or is the player deciding?
It's the player deciding, and the game comparing that decision to the PC's known ethos; which is unknown, if there is no declared alignment.
Yes. The player decides.
They do... but in your preference, they are never held to it.

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Woolfe » May 27th, 2017, 4:19 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 27th, 2017, 8:55 am
Woolfe wrote:
May 27th, 2017, 5:57 am
But what is the point of the restriction, or the changing of alignment?

If you assume a world that reacts to your actions, is the concept of alignment simply not necessary? Aside from one or two cases like Priests whose gods force them to behave in a certain fashion, there is simply no need for it at all.
Have you ever seen a film where a character wanted, or was asked to do... a thing that they may have felt was necessary, but ultimately could not willingly choose to do? A big stretch of the concept could almost see alignments as a kind of affective disorder. The point of any character is restriction; in some cases that restriction is less than one's own; in other cases it can be far more.
Sure, but then you see the films where a character does something that they normally wouldn't do because it was necessary.
I understand what alignment does and is used for, what I am trying to understand is what game effect it would have on you other than arbitrarily restricting you in a way that it shouldn't.

Now if you have been a horrible murderous bastard throughout the game, when "Joe Bloggs Quest giver" comes to you they may choose NOT to give you the mission to go and do something without killing anyone. Or they may choose to offer you a mission in which they want an entire village "removed" from an argument etc. But that is the world reacting to your actions.
Not you reacting.
These are your characters, how you play them is up to you. If you want to have a character who suddenly has a change of heart and stops killing everything in sight, then you shouldn't be restricted. But you should still face consequences for your earlier actions.
Gizmo wrote:
May 27th, 2017, 8:55 am
—Not alignment related, but pertinent...
A person might imagine it would be fun to do stand-up comedy to before an audience of thousands, but not be able to maintain their composure if actually put on stage and expected to perform; A person roleplaying the character of [Jerry] Seinfeld or George Carlin, would see them not having a problem going on stage, easily maintaining their composure, and having confidence enough to perform; most likely doing so very successfully in front of the crowd. It's the distinction between player and character; and it also works in reverse. Seinfeld could be roleplaying a straight laced non-comedic PC that simply cannot pull off an improve night club performance; and that's a restriction of playing that character. A thing that is trivial for him to do personally, is a great difficulty for the character he is playing.
That assumes you are playing a predefined character. We know who Jerry is, we know he would act in a certain way, but we don't know who "Lander Lyonsbane" is, we don't know how he would act. I do. He is my Paladin Archetype, so he invariably does the right thing even when it results in him being punished. But that is my character, and the world doesn't know that. Well not straight away anyway.
Gizmo wrote:
May 27th, 2017, 8:55 am
Where this might apply to alignments is when a person considers that lying or stealing would solve their problem. But when it comes time to actually take the items (or to aggressively demand them from the owners by threatening force), they might realize that this is an action they cannot willingly go through with, and are already upset that they ever even considered it; if they got that far. In context... The PC is fleeing the law, they chance upon an unattended farm. There is a horse; do they take it? Taking the horse could mean inflicting a year's hardship on the owner (trying to save up for another horse), possibly even have them lose their crops for being unable to plant or harvest in time. Are they the kind of person that cares(?); or would they look for another way (one that doesn't harm this person, whose farm they've chanced upon)? Running from the law might mean fleeing a robbery with loot, fleeing an unpaid hotel bill, or fleeing a psychotic sheriff out to kill them for personal reasons. Are each of these equally worth stealing a farmer's horse to this character(?); potentially getting it killed*. (*And what about this from the horse's perspective?)
What you are talking about are the reactions to your actions. You can do that in game through other methods, that don't restrict a player's choice.
In context, if the pc is fleeing and they steal that horse. They will not necessarily see the consequences. But they can be there. The game can build them. Perhaps they were seen, and the story gets round that they are horsethieves, and now everyone treats them differently, or if they weren't seen. Perhaps they return through that same farm one day to see it abandoned or to find some old farmer dying, or some new owners, and when investigated they discover the above.
ETC etc etc.

You are talking about actions and reactions. The closest example of what I am describing is the Karma/Reputation attributes some games have had. The problem with them though was that they were universal. If you robbed some graves then you were a grave robber EVERYWHERE. Even in places that had no possible way of knowing.

<Many examples of exactly the same thing removed>
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Gizmo » May 27th, 2017, 8:24 pm

Woolfe wrote:
May 27th, 2017, 4:19 pm
I understand what alignment does and is used for, what I am trying to understand is what game effect it would have on you other than arbitrarily restricting you in a way that it shouldn't.
I cannot imagine a situation where the character should not restrict the player; yet you say, "in a way that it shouldn't".
These are your characters, how you play them is up to you. If you want to have a character who suddenly has a change of heart and stops killing everything in sight, then you shouldn't be restricted.
Why not?
What you describe seems similar to a couch-potato who decides to stop TV, and lift weights; expecting a Lou Ferrigno physique by the end of the month. Old habits die hard, and your killer PC has the habit solving problems with violence. It shouldn't be affected at the level of a single action; instead requiring an intense personal effort to change their own life, else... it's like the (Gotham) Joker deciding not to kill his victim, but to make him a pet project—while the whim lasts. It doesn't last, and by the end, he's the same Joker we knew of before.
But you should still face consequences for your earlier actions.
How would you suggest they implement that in a game?
  • Should they keep a growing record of every NPC interaction throughout the game? Doubtless, there will be situations where interactions with one NPC influenced interactions with other NPCs; and discerning context could be problematic at best. A character can tell the truth because they are scared, or they feel the other is owed it, or they want the reward, or they want to hurt the other person—with the bitter truth.
  • Should they record the PC's alignment at the time of the conversation, and interpret the actions based upon it? (Possibly assuming different intentions in the dialog, or quest, if the PC were lawful rather than anarchistic)
  • Should they only record the outcomes—sans any context?
  • Should alignment merely serve as a gateway key to the situations?
In Planescape all of the 'Celestial Fire' weapons require a lawful good alignment to be used. How would a new game have similar items evaluate the PC to the same standard? This being a magical (or a sci-fi) setting, should the item be fooled by reputation alone? Can it not probe the potential user's inner self? If it can, it is probably looking for how the user might choose to use it, or looking for evidence of strong beliefs (and what those are). In either case that's estimating the future based on the present and past.
That assumes you are playing a predefined character.
Why do you believe that? (Aside: what's wrong with that; assigned characters are easier to roleplay.)

Jerry could have (and I certainly assumed)... made up the character himself; as someone who is not like himself... which IMO makes the absolute best characters to roleplay.
What you are talking about are the reactions to your actions. You can do that in game through other methods, that don't restrict a player's choice.
Why would anyone want that? If I play a PC with a fear of the undead, they would endeavor to avoid the undead in all situations. If I play a PC with a crippling fear of heights, then they might very well not save a friend or relative hanging on a ledge begging them for help. They might hate themselves for that. They might also figure out a way to help without climbing out on the ledge themselves. If they would not climb out on the ledge, why give them the option? It's out of character. It's like there is a glass wall between them and the ledge; they can't climb out there if they know it's a great height.
You may have seen similar in the movie Robo-Cop, where Murphy had an immutable mental block that absolutely prevented him from directly attacking OCP directors; even when they had hostages held at gunpoint. Murphy couldn't just choose to shoot (this being the same guy that calculated a blind shot through the gap in a hostage's legs earlier in the film). He was only able to shoot after Richards was fired from OCP—no longer protected as OCP officer. This same concept was recycled in Demolition Man; where Wesley Snipes's character had this same thing done to him, and he was utterly unable to directly attack the naive Dr. Raymond... and so he had someone else do it.

In these latter two (extreme) cases, it was caused of brain tampering, but sometimes (to lesser extents), it's just the way the people are. There are people who won't steal; even to feed themselves; worse—even to feed their children. Deeply held beliefs can be very strong. In the Silver Chalice, the character Adam recounts how his arm isn't useful anymore, because as a child he broke it on the Sabbath, and his father would not let it be tended to until the next day. And so it remained damaged for the rest of his life. People don't change deeply held beliefs on whim and circumstance; and so if the PC starts the game as a champion of justice, the first act by the player should not be murdering a pickpocket; or poisoning a street gang; or stealing from the sheriff's weapon's locker; or demanding payment to intercede during a hold up.

Planescape does allow alignment change. It's based on actions... The game does present a spectrum of choices, including murdering party members. But Nameless begins the game not knowing his own name—let alone any deeply held beliefs (if he has any). The 'Celestial Fire' weapons can't be used by him until long after he has chosen his path to redemption. In the beginning he is not much of a roleplayable character at all; (he has no restrictions). He merely has a puzzling appearance, and a talent for not staying deceased.

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Drool » May 27th, 2017, 9:40 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 27th, 2017, 8:24 pm
You may have seen similar in the movie Robo-Cop, where Murphy had an immutable mental block that absolutely prevented him from directly attacking OCP directors; even when they had hostages held at gunpoint. Murphy couldn't just choose to shoot (this being the same guy that calculated a blind shot through the gap in a hostage's legs earlier in the film). He was only able to shoot after Richards was fired from OCP—no longer protected as OCP officer. This same concept was recycled in Demolition Man; where Wesley Snipes's character had this same thing done to him, and he was utterly unable to directly attack the naive Dr. Raymond... and so he had someone else do it.

In these latter two (extreme) cases, it was caused of brain tampering, but sometimes (to lesser extents), it's just the way the people are. There are people who won't steal; even to feed themselves; worse—even to feed their children. Deeply held beliefs can be very strong. In the Silver Chalice, the character Adam recounts how his arm isn't useful anymore, because as a child he broke it on the Sabbath, and his father would not let it be tended to until the next day. And so it remained damaged for the rest of his life. People don't change deeply held beliefs on whim and circumstance; and so if the PC starts the game as a champion of justice, the first act by the player should not be murdering a pickpocket; or poisoning a street gang; or stealing from the sheriff's weapon's locker; or demanding payment to intercede during a hold up.
What the holy hell does this have to do with incorporating a restrictive alignment system in a blobber dungeon crawler?
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Gizmo » May 27th, 2017, 11:45 pm

Drool wrote:
May 27th, 2017, 9:40 pm
What the holy hell does this have to do with incorporating a restrictive alignment system in a blobber dungeon crawler?
Nothing. :mrgreen:
I don't know of any blobber dungeon crawler that is deep enough to employ restrictive alignments, or that has roleplayable characters. Perhaps with the exception of Lands of Lore 1... But those characters really do actually play themselves, with little or no conversational input from the player; and zero opportunities for roleplaying a choice. But then that part is typical of most dungeon crawlers. The only choices I recall in EoB (for instance), is a yes/no response to NPC requests to join, and begging the dwarven cleric for corpse resurrection; all the rest is exposition.

*Come to think of it... Menzobaranzan and Ravenloft:Stone Prophet might have some aspect of that to it. They had NPC quests, but they were of very limited scope IIRC. I'd have to play them again for a while, to see if the party really has an affecting choice beyond, "Okay" or "No Way".

**Remember, I haven't played WL1 very far into it; though I've seen it played from start to end. Of Bobby and the dog... Wasn't that total self defense after being attacked? (and then being surprised by Bobby afterwards? Was it really a choice?)

*** I've thought of another one... but it doesn't have alignments. Realms of Arkania does have many per character restrictions; choices for honest & dishonest dealings, and the NPC dialog can be several branches deep. But I think it's an exception to the dungeoncrawler norm. Actual combat in RoA is Isometric, on a square grid; not wholly unlike WL2.

As a belated return to Skills & Spell Suggestions... I do hope for many of the original series spells, including Brother's Kringle, and Kiel's Magic Compass, Levitation, Elik's Instant (summons), Area Enchant, Baylor's Spell Bind, Summon Herb, Camaraderie, Mangar's Mallet; and to have an actual NEED for the safety spell. (Which typically teleports the party back to the guild minus all of their gold.)

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Woolfe » May 28th, 2017, 3:01 am

Gizmo wrote:
May 27th, 2017, 8:24 pm
Woolfe wrote:
May 27th, 2017, 4:19 pm
I understand what alignment does and is used for, what I am trying to understand is what game effect it would have on you other than arbitrarily restricting you in a way that it shouldn't.
I cannot imagine a situation where the character should not restrict the player; yet you say, "in a way that it shouldn't".
Then we have a fundamental failure to communicate.
Gizmo wrote:
May 27th, 2017, 8:24 pm
These are your characters, how you play them is up to you. If you want to have a character who suddenly has a change of heart and stops killing everything in sight, then you shouldn't be restricted.
Why not?
What you describe seems similar to a couch-potato who decides to stop TV, and lift weights; expecting a Lou Ferrigno physique by the end of the month. Old habits die hard, and your killer PC has the habit solving problems with violence. It shouldn't be affected at the level of a single action; instead requiring an intense personal effort to change their own life, else... it's like the (Gotham) Joker deciding not to kill his victim, but to make him a pet project—while the whim lasts. It doesn't last, and by the end, he's the same Joker we knew of before.
Or not... What a load of bollucks. Of course you can make the change. Should the change have no effects, of course not. And in P&P world one of the ways to manage that was using the alignment attribute. Because in P&P anything can happen. You cannot plan for everything.
The Joker is the worst character to explain alignment. He is psychotic, the only thing stable about him is his instability.
Gizmo wrote:
May 27th, 2017, 8:24 pm
But you should still face consequences for your earlier actions.
How would you suggest they implement that in a game?
Well that's the challenge isn't it. It actually isn't as complex as you think. You could simply have an array of important factors possible in an area.
Simple obvious stuff, like killing people and stealing stuff.
Then character interactive stuff. Ie your relationship with individuals in the area, perhaps a group layer relationship, perhaps a layer that spreads into the next area.
If you had a lot of resources you could make it complex enough to take into account individual characters in your party, which would be cool.
But I digress. Once you have a list of factors, you assign a simple value to define the rating for that feature.

You can then refer to those values whenever you need.
Now assuming these arrays may get quite complex, you could clear certain elements of it, or have separate arrays for differing areas, and only pass across the factors that affect other areas.
[*]Should they record the PC's alignment at the time of the conversation, and interpret the actions based upon it? (Possibly assuming different intentions in the dialog, or quest, if the PC were lawful rather than anarchistic)
This is your problem. You are wanting the computer to suggest what your character would do. That is not what it is about. You have a list of choices that you choose. If something is missing or added, it is a direct result of your actions in the game world, the skills you take, the abilities you have, the choices you have made up to that point.
If you decide that your murderous gunslinger is going to have a change of heart, then that is your choice not the games.
In Planescape all of the 'Celestial Fire' weapons require a lawful good alignment to be used. <snip>
Let me stop you there. Planescape is DnD, which is P&P and Alignment exists for good reason in P&P.
You could do something similar. Simply by noting things the weapon doesn't like. Knowingly killing innocents for example. Its really not hard.
That assumes you are playing a predefined character.
Why do you believe that? (Aside: what's wrong with that; assigned characters are easier to roleplay.)

Jerry could have (and I certainly assumed)... made up the character himself; as someone who is not like himself... which IMO makes the absolute best characters to roleplay.
Because a predefined character is not your creation, you did not decide on the back story, the history, what makes that character that character. No one would know how my characters would act except me.
As for roleplaying a character other than yourself, again that is the choice you are making. If I want to play a murderous bastard, I don't need to be forced down that path. If I want to play a character who doesn't like authority or rules, I can, I don't need to be forced into it.

Stop looking at the DnD Alignment choices, they were always poor at defining, and needed a DM to interpret.
What you are talking about are the reactions to your actions. You can do that in game through other methods, that don't restrict a player's choice.
Why would anyone want that? If I play a PC with a fear of the undead, they would endeavor to avoid the undead in all situations. If I play a PC with a crippling fear of heights, then they might very well not save a friend or relative hanging on a ledge begging them for help. They might hate themselves for that. They might also figure out a way to help without climbing out on the ledge themselves. If they would not climb out on the ledge, why give them the option? It's out of character. It's like there is a glass wall between them and the ledge; they can't climb out there if they know it's a great height.
So you never hear of people overcoming their fears? But aside from that, they are not alignment related. They are traits.
You may have seen similar in the movie Robo-Cop, where Murphy had an immutable mental block that absolutely prevented him from directly attacking OCP directors; even when they had hostages held at gunpoint. Murphy couldn't just choose to shoot (this being the same guy that calculated a blind shot through the gap in a hostage's legs earlier in the film). He was only able to shoot after Richards was fired from OCP—no longer protected as OCP officer. This same concept was recycled in Demolition Man; where Wesley Snipes's character had this same thing done to him, and he was utterly unable to directly attack the naive Dr. Raymond... and so he had someone else do it.
You mean the PROGRAMMED INABILITY TO KILL AN OCP DIRECTOR. The guy was part robot. He literally had a program preventing him from doing WHAT HIS ALIGNMENT WANTED HIM TO DO.

And Snipes further disproves your comments. Because His inability to act did not touch his alignment. Indeed he just got one of his cronies to do it. You'll note Murphy did not think of that. Because he isn't the sort to let other people do his dirty work.

Seriously bad example.
<Snip pointless bollucks with no meaning> People don't change deeply held beliefs on whim and circumstance; and so if the PC starts the game as a champion of justice, the first act by the player should not be murdering a pickpocket; or poisoning a street gang; or stealing from the sheriff's weapon's locker; or demanding payment to intercede during a hold up.
Whose to say he was a champion of justice? Maybe that was an act he had been putting on, whereas in reality he was lining his pockets, setting people up and setting up his own empire under the guise of being a champion of justice
Planescape does allow alignment change. It's based on actions... The game does present a spectrum of choices, including murdering party members. But Nameless begins the game not knowing his own name—let alone any deeply held beliefs (if he has any). The 'Celestial Fire' weapons can't be used by him until long after he has chosen his path to redemption. In the beginning he is not much of a roleplayable character at all; (he has no restrictions). He merely has a puzzling appearance, and a talent for not staying deceased.
Of course he is, he is a figurative open book. The choices you make define how the character turns out.
You are really bad at picking examples that support your case.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Gizmo » May 28th, 2017, 12:11 pm

Woolfe wrote:
May 28th, 2017, 3:01 am
Then we have a fundamental failure to communicate.
I think we understand each other just fine, but we don't agree.
And in P&P world one of the ways to manage that was using the alignment attribute. Because in P&P anything can happen. You cannot plan for everything.
In a cRPG, you have to plan for everything (that will be supported). One ignores what's not supported.
In Planescape, the PC occasionally has the option to lie; this actually affects their alignment.
He is psychotic, the only thing stable about him is his instability.
That's why I picked him as the example. ;)
Well that's the challenge isn't it. It actually isn't as complex as you think. You could simply have an array of important factors possible in an area. Simple obvious stuff, like killing people and stealing stuff.
It can get complex without context; that's why I made a point of mentioning it before.

In Fallout 2, the player can get both the grave digger and child-killer titles accidentally; one of these comes from completing a benevolent quest. In fact, (additionally) many first time Fallout players unintentionally murder the Necropolis by thoughtlessly taking the water chip home with them as soon as they see it.

You cannot just assume that evil acts == evil intentions; nor the reverse with good acts. Meanings can change with the context.

**And a declared alignment IS part of the context.

In Planescape all of the 'Celestial Fire' weapons require a lawful good alignment to be used. <snip>
Let me stop you there. Planescape is DnD, which is P&P and Alignment exists for good reason in P&P.
You could do something similar. Simply by noting things the weapon doesn't like. Knowingly killing innocents for example. Its really not hard.
I think you are missing the point... For one thing Planescape itself (and D&D) is irrelevant here. Secondly, you are parroting my own suggestions back at me as your proof that "Its really not hard". It's not hard—to do it badly.

Because a predefined character is not your creation
What does that have to do with roleplaying?
No one would know how my characters would act except me.
This is why action choices are usually very clear cut along alignment lines. They cannot know (or hope to support) anything the player might decide fits their character. They intend for the player to choose the closest, most appropriate option for their character, from among the ones they provide. —And...
They would have an easier time of it if the PC came with a declared alignment that allowed them to know more about how they view the world, and interact with others. (Especially at the start of the game; where there is no player choice history.)
Stop looking at the DnD Alignment choices, they were always poor at defining, and needed a DM to interpret.
That is your personal opinion. I never had a problem with clarity using their alignment system, but I liked Palladium Book's alignment system even better.
So you never hear of people overcoming their fears? But aside from that, they are not alignment related. They are traits.
That part is obvious. You saw it, why assume that I didn't (and then spell it out for me). :?
You mean the PROGRAMMED INABILITY TO KILL AN OCP DIRECTOR. The guy was part robot. He literally had a program preventing him from doing WHAT HIS ALIGNMENT WANTED HIM TO DO...

And Snipes further disproves your comments. Because His inability to act did not touch his alignment. Indeed he just got one of his cronies to do it. You'll note Murphy did not think of that. Because he isn't the sort to let other people do his dirty work.
Seriously bad example.
I think it a superb example; and I think that you disagree because you choose to negatively interpret the beginnings of anything I say that contradicts your own strongly held beliefs, which you do not discard lightly, or by any single posting :roll: ; possibly not even reading the rest. I get the honest impression that you are only skimming my posts for snipe-able points; and ignoring, or never perceiving the related context. The post you quoted actually mentions your current point in it... But what you've missed or glossed over is that the Robo-Cop example is not trying to prove anything to you; and that you cannot disprove anything by attacking it. It is there only to frame the context of the point that comes after.
<Snip pointless bollucks with no meaning>
See what I mean? I can tell you that I would not have put time and careful thought into 'pointless bollucks with no meaning'.
Whose to say he was a champion of justice? Maybe that was an act he had been putting on, whereas in reality he was lining his pockets, setting people up and setting up his own empire under the guise of being a champion of justice
The Player is who says; and the game must believe the player. If the player is running a 'Captain Amazing' style champion hero (who is really an evil jerk behind his public image), then the game needs to know that he's not a lawful good Samaritan, and that all of his charitable heroic deeds are for selfish publicity sake.

Mechanically this is where a karma/reputation (like fallout's) system could really shine. As opposed to Baldur's Gate's single reputation system. Such a PC could have a beaming public image (rep), and miserably low karma. But when you think of it... A declared alignment encompasses this complexity (of context tracking) into a single string value. Image

**Here is a thought: What if an RPG allowed the impatient player to just change their character's alignment on the character sheet at any time during play? It seems ridiculous (and very exploitable), but this could have the immediate effect of the game interpreting present & future actions in a different light. Such changes could come from spell attacks too, as well as traumatic or crisis events; (this would be my preference over arbitrary changes by the player to the PC stat-sheet).

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by thebruce » May 28th, 2017, 4:40 pm

I was going to do another big writeup, but I see it's pointless, as typical of these sorts of conversations. Much talking past each other. So I'll leave it at this (as woolfe also chimed in with many great points I wouldn't have seen to include):
(ie, role play)
Meaning... (ie. At whim)?
...Meaning a wriggling amorphous personality with an unpredictable behavior, that you couldn't ever trust in a kitchen because of all the knives laying around?
... :| That has absolutely nothing to do with what we're talking about.
Look, we're coming at it from two angles - you want to have Alignment (by label) define what choices are available otherwise a character is "unpredictable". We want to have alignment (if it exists at all by label) merely as a descriptor of a characters' past choices, and that's as far as it goes - any in-game effects being directly related to the choices made and actions taken, not based on the character's (current or static) Alignment category.
That's it. That's all.
It's not "not roleplaying" if you are still playing the role of a defined character, but have left moral and ethical choices entirely up to the player rather than restricting them with the game engine.

It's role playing if you are playing a role - whether you choose a pre-defined character or create (and play) it yourself.

For me, in the BT4 dungeon crawling blobber, I want to role play the characters who I physically define, including skills and stats, AND then be free to play the characters within the game world however I please - which means based on the characters' characters and alignments I have defined in my own head, not based on what developers think good/bad/alwful/chaotic mean.
That's it. That's all.
And you'll rue the day you say once again that's not "really" role playing. :P
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Woolfe » May 28th, 2017, 5:44 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 28th, 2017, 12:11 pm
Woolfe wrote:
May 28th, 2017, 3:01 am
Then we have a fundamental failure to communicate.
I think we understand each other just fine, but we don't agree.
It doesn't seem that way. I had thought that myself, but now I am more leaning to the fundamental difference, because I cannot conceive of how what you said fits.
And in P&P world one of the ways to manage that was using the alignment attribute. Because in P&P anything can happen. You cannot plan for everything.
In a cRPG, you have to plan for everything (that will be supported). One ignores what's not supported.
In Planescape, the PC occasionally has the option to lie; this actually affects their alignment.
So? Planescape was a specific system. That had a generic attribute. That was specifically created for a P&P world, not a CRPG. Planning for everything is exactly why a generic attribute is not needed. There is nothing that the attribute brings to the game.
He is psychotic, the only thing stable about him is his instability.
That's why I picked him as the example. ;)
And I repeat he is a bad example.
Well that's the challenge isn't it. It actually isn't as complex as you think. You could simply have an array of important factors possible in an area. Simple obvious stuff, like killing people and stealing stuff.
It can get complex without context; that's why I made a point of mentioning it before.
For you as the player, of course. But that is where the devs need to be better at what they do. For the devs, it is their world, they created it, they know why.
In Fallout 2, the player can get both the grave digger and child-killer titles accidentally; one of these comes from completing a benevolent quest.

I recall, and that was a failure of the way they built the system, the Fallout 2 karma system had potential but was flawed. Specifically because people knew stuff about you where they could not have possibly known it.
In fact, (additionally) many first time Fallout players unintentionally murder the Necropolis by thoughtlessly taking the water chip home with them as soon as they see it.
So? I can't recall, but did they KNOW taking the chip would kill the necropolis?
You cannot just assume that evil acts == evil intentions; nor the reverse with good acts. Meanings can change with the context.
So? That has nothing to do with alignment. Or this argument. No matter the context, your character has a choice.

You are advocating a generic alignment stat that forces their hand. I propose a system that gives them consequences dependent on their choice.
**And a declared alignment IS part of the context.
It is not. A declared alignment is meaningless. The actions, and how they are perceived are all that matter.
In Planescape all of the 'Celestial Fire' weapons require a lawful good alignment to be used. <snip>
Let me stop you there. Planescape is DnD, which is P&P and Alignment exists for good reason in P&P.
You could do something similar. Simply by noting things the weapon doesn't like. Knowingly killing innocents for example. Its really not hard.
I think you are missing the point... For one thing Planescape itself (and D&D) is irrelevant here. Secondly, you are parroting my own suggestions back at me as your proof that "Its really not hard". It's not hard—to do it badly.
And D&D does it very badly. Alignment has always been one of those "ignored" stats. Unless there was a specific reason to not ignore it, like weapons or class restrictions. Alignment is great for NPC's as it gives the DM an idea of how those characters will act. But the Players are the masters of their own domains, they get to make their choices, and then live with the consequences. A DM who stops the player's Paladin from murder because it is against his way of doing things is wrong. Sure warn them, but let them live the consequences of lost powers.
Because a predefined character is not your creation
What does that have to do with roleplaying?
EVERYTHING. Roleplaying as a generic term covers every game from FPS to RTS to whatever. RPG as a more specific term has connotations, that suggest it is the players character. In P&P world, even when the dm gave you a predefined character, you could do with them as you wanted. It is about the PLAYER playing the role they want. Not selecting the predetermined guy with a history and then having no choice in the characters direction.
Obviously it is not as cut and dry as that, we live in a world of shading.
No one would know how my characters would act except me.
This is why action choices are usually very clear cut along alignment lines. They cannot know (or hope to support) anything the player might decide fits their character. They intend for the player to choose the closest, most appropriate option for their character, from among the ones they provide. —And...
They would have an easier time of it if the PC came with a declared alignment that allowed them to know more about how they view the world, and interact with others. (Especially at the start of the game; where there is no player choice history.)
IT IS YOUR CHARACTER. You play it however you damn well please.
Of course "THEY" (who are they? devs?) don't know, that is the point. It is the players character, they are simply providing a world for that character to play in.
Well you can use Traits, stats, and player choice to make those decisions. It is not about making it "easier" for the devs, it is about making a game that the player wants to play.
Stop looking at the DnD Alignment choices, they were always poor at defining, and needed a DM to interpret.
That is your personal opinion. I never had a problem with clarity using their alignment system, but I liked Palladium Book's alignment system even better.
It was fine as a guide for the DM. But as a ruleset for a crpg it is horrific.
Palladium's alignment system (assuming it is same as TMNT and Ninjas and Superspies) was actually a better representation of alignment. However it was still a tool for the DM.
So you never hear of people overcoming their fears? But aside from that, they are not alignment related. They are traits.
That part is obvious. You saw it, why assume that I didn't (and then spell it out for me). :?
Because you seem to think it is related to Alignment?
You mean the PROGRAMMED INABILITY TO KILL AN OCP DIRECTOR. The guy was part robot. He literally had a program preventing him from doing WHAT HIS ALIGNMENT WANTED HIM TO DO...

And Snipes further disproves your comments. Because His inability to act did not touch his alignment. Indeed he just got one of his cronies to do it. You'll note Murphy did not think of that. Because he isn't the sort to let other people do his dirty work.
Seriously bad example.
I think it a superb example; and I think that you disagree because you choose to negatively interpret the beginnings of anything I say that contradicts your own strongly held beliefs, which you do not discard lightly, or by any single posting :roll: ; possibly not even reading the rest. I get the honest impression that you are only skimming my posts for snipe-able points; and ignoring, or never perceiving the related context. The post you quoted actually mentions your current point in it... But what you've missed or glossed over is that the Robo-Cop example is not trying to prove anything to you; and that you cannot disprove anything by attacking it. It is there only to frame the context of the point that comes after.
And I reiterate we have a fundamental failure to communicate. You keep using examples that do not actually impact on Alignment.
<Snip pointless bollucks with no meaning>
See what I mean? I can tell you that I would not have put time and careful thought into 'pointless bollucks with no meaning'.
Because it is not alignment. It is everything BUT alignment.
Whose to say he was a champion of justice? Maybe that was an act he had been putting on, whereas in reality he was lining his pockets, setting people up and setting up his own empire under the guise of being a champion of justice
The Player is who says; and the game must believe the player. If the player is running a 'Captain Amazing' style champion hero (who is really an evil jerk behind his public image), then the game needs to know that he's not a lawful good Samaritan, and that all of his charitable heroic deeds are for selfish publicity sake.
*FACEPALM* The game already knows based on the characters ACTIONS, which unlike a human DM, it can actually remember every single little thing if it so chooses.

What is alignment. It is the way the player acts. It is not what the player says they are. It is the way they behave. Now a good player has a story that defines the way they play the character, and they stick to that story. A bad player may not, and may bounce all over the place.
Neither is actually wrong. One is more consistent and coherent, but so what. Ultimately the bad player is still just playing a character. If you apply consequences correctly then the way they play becomes more important, and defines their "alignment" through their actions (by actions I mean everything, Choices of speech, choices of gameplay, as well as defined important point choices)
Mechanically this is where a karma/reputation (like fallout's) system could really shine. As opposed to Baldur's Gate's single reputation system. Such a PC could have a beaming public image (rep), and miserably low karma. But when you think of it... A declared alignment encompasses this complexity (of context tracking) into a single string value. Image
It does not. A declared alignment does NOTHING unless you specifically program for it. If you do specifically program for it, then you LOSE choice. If I have 3 choices, and I can't choose 2 because I am "lawful" then it is no longer a choice is it.
Your alignment only changes or is reinforced through the choices you make in the game.

The ONLY reason I can see to have an "alignment" is to add colour to choices. So a Lawful person might have a choice presented to them in a positive way, whilst a Chaotic person has it presented in a negative, and vice versa. But importantly, the CHOICE is still there.
**Here is a thought: What if an RPG allowed the impatient player to just change their character's alignment on the character sheet at any time during play? It seems ridiculous (and very exploitable), but this could have the immediate effect of the game interpreting present & future actions in a different light. Such changes could come from spell attacks too, as well as traumatic or crisis events; (this would be my preference over arbitrary changes by the player to the PC stat-sheet).
Pointless again. In a CRPG it doesn't matter UNLESS you have things reliant on the "alignment" stat. Which wouldn't matter anyway as you can define them using a different method.
In a P&P, the DM has to manage it. It the DM is ok with them doing that sort of thing, then so be it. Will it make a good game? Maybe depends on the DM.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Gizmo » May 28th, 2017, 6:13 pm

thebruce wrote:
May 28th, 2017, 4:40 pm
...
That's not a bad assessment. ;)

Let me fill in the details a bit (as I see it)...
  • You want the freedom to march the PC into any NPC's house, and with equal option have the choice to help them with a quest, ignore them, or leave them for dead—perhaps with their loot in your PC's pack. And you want the game not to evaluate this, except perhaps to make just a note of it; ideally not even branding the PC with an alignment descriptor. You want to roleplay an unfinished character that you haven't fully decided upon yet; at every choice you roleplay "What will I do this time?"; and want to be able to change the role to suit your current mood of the moment.
  • I want to roleplay an established character; whose beliefs and attitudes I've already made known to the game engine. I then want to find out how their outlook on life serves them in the situations the game can provide. I may play a John Rambo character first time through the game, and later play a (Disney style) Ichabod Crane PC. Both of these characters might find themselves in a back alley gang fight. If playing the Ichabod PC, I don't want the Rambo attitude options. I'd want the Ichabod options; solutions that might make John Rambo puke like a billy goat, but that could work for an Ichabod Crane (who perhaps would not willingly kill anyone; and faints like a touch-me-not at the sight of blood).
It's role playing if you are playing a role - whether you choose a pre-defined character or create (and play) it yourself.
And here we agree. :)

__
Woolfe wrote:
May 28th, 2017, 5:44 pm
So? Planescape was a specific system. That had a generic attribute. That was specifically created for a P&P world, not a CRPG. Planning for everything is exactly why a generic attribute is not needed. There is nothing that the attribute brings to the game.
There is not that much difference between PnP and cRPG. One started out as a digital version of the other; and if you can't see the benefits of an alignment descriptor in a roleplaying game, then you are right in thinking it a fundamental failure to communicate.
He is psychotic, the only thing stable about him is his instability.
That's why I picked him as the example. ;)
And I repeat he is a bad example.
Your reason why would be more helpful. I chose him because he could arbitrarily choose to toy with a victim or murder them. Could Bruce Wayne do the same? And with the Joker it's not a personality shift; with Bruce Wayne, he might quit being the Batman after that kind of temporary insanity.
For you as the player, of course. But that is where the devs need to be better at what they do. For the devs, it is their world, they created it, they know why.
?
(This is a genuine failure to communicate; because of the context, I honestly don't get your point or meaning here.)
In Fallout 2, the player can get both the grave digger and child-killer titles accidentally; one of these comes from completing a benevolent quest.

I recall, and that was a failure of the way they built the system, the Fallout 2 karma system had potential but was flawed. Specifically because people knew stuff about you where they could not have possibly known it.
Here is another fundamental communication failure... Fallout 2 should not be as some kind of proof in that context. It doesn't matter if the game was broken, the point was the possibility and the example. The mere fact that you can't just assume that interpreted evil acts imply evil intent. Ever see someone grab a chair just as another person decides to sit on it?
(It can be tough to convince them it was not intended too ;); since generally their back was to them, and they didn't actually see what lead up to it.)
In fact, (additionally) many first time Fallout players unintentionally murder the Necropolis by thoughtlessly taking the water chip home with them as soon as they see it.
So? I can't recall, but did they KNOW taking the chip would kill the necropolis?
This is the point of mentioning it. No, one does not necessarily know that taking the chip will doom the populace to death by dehydration. (But it should have been pretty easy to guess, with all these people out in the desert, and your PC takes off with an active water filtration controller chip.)
You cannot just assume that evil acts == evil intentions; nor the reverse with good acts. Meanings can change with the context.
So? That has nothing to do with alignment. Or this argument. No matter the context, your character has a choice.
It has everything to do with alignment. Cementing that point was the only reason I put such a self evident line into print. :?
**And a declared alignment IS part of the context.
It is not. A declared alignment is meaningless. The actions, and how they are perceived are all that matter.
Uh-huh... A declared alignment indicates how to perceive the actions. :roll:

Here is an example: Let's say the PC gives a vagrant a bauble. Is that good or bad? In FO3, the PC can give vagrants waterbottles, and it's always interpreted as good—even though the majority of times it happens is for selfish reasons of public image. So back to the bauble. The PC gives the vagrant a bauble. The benevolent PC might do this to help feed the family of kids the man lied about having. The malevolent PC might do this to see where the man goes when he has something to stash. Under your preference they would both be recorded as a good deed.

I can tell you that the first time I played Fallout 2, when I saw that kids were pickpocketing my PC's stuff, I let them steal something else, so that I could see where they went to sell it. (No... letting them steal doesn't have anything to do with alignments, that's not why I mentioned it.)
Because a predefined character is not your creation
What does that have to do with roleplaying?
EVERYTHING. Roleplaying as a generic term covers every game from FPS to RTS to whatever.
I think this is core to why we cannot communicate.
You cannot expect me to agree when 'Nothing that's what' was the implied meaning of "What does that have to do with roleplaying?".

The character can be any kind of person (or even semi-sentient thing). It doesn't matter if the player invented it, or was assigned it; all that matters is the player's ability to extrapolate the character's behavior based on what they know of it.

(And it should be pretty obvious that knowing the character's alignment would be a big help in extrapolating the character's behavior.)
Palladium's alignment system (assuming it is same as TMNT and Ninjas and Superspies) was actually a better representation of alignment.
It is, and I mentioned that. ;)
(But I did not have any trouble with D&D's alignment system.)
Because you seem to think it is related to Alignment?
Because indirectly it is. But that wasn't part of the point being pushed. It was showing a parallel of strongly inhibiting belief. That's what an alignment is.
And I reiterate we have a fundamental failure to communicate. You keep using examples that do not actually impact on Alignment.
Just as you keep assuming that everything I say must be intended as validation. Some examples are simply there to clarify a later point—not prove it.
*FACEPALM* The game already knows based on the characters ACTIONS, which unlike a human DM, it can actually remember every single little thing if it so chooses.
What part of "(Especially at the start of the game; where there is no player choice history)", did you not perceive? :?
What is alignment. It is the way the player acts.
No.

(I'd give you the reasoning —again, but you don't seem to care about them; and anything I say gets scrutinized for tangents to disprove.)
:(
The ONLY reason I can see to have an "alignment" is to add colour to choices. So a Lawful person might have a choice presented to them in a positive way, whilst a Chaotic person has it presented in a negative, and vice versa. But importantly, the CHOICE is still there.
And why must it be the same choice?
What do you have against an alignment based subset of choices?
Would it offend the sensibilities if —years later, you learned that a favorite game didn't offer a certain choice to your PC because of alignment? (Offering a different one instead, and you didn't know.)
Pointless again. In a CRPG it doesn't matter UNLESS you have things reliant on the "alignment" stat.
... While true—of course (I mean that is self-evident), it's not disproving anything in the quote; it's wholly tangential to it, and I said the same thing several posts back.
____

** In hindsight, I think the last several posts could use their own thread; is this possible?
(The title unfortunately is "Skill Suggestions", and we've not been giving them.)

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by thebruce » May 28th, 2017, 7:42 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 28th, 2017, 6:13 pm
Let me fill in the details a bit (as I see it)...
You want the freedom to march the PC into any NPC's house, and with equal option have the choice to help them with a quest, ignore them, or leave them for dead—perhaps with their loot in your PC's pack. And you want the game not to evaluate this, except perhaps to make just a note of it; ideally not even branding the PC with an alignment descriptor. You want to roleplay an unfinished character that you haven't fully decided upon yet; at every choice you roleplay "What will I do this time?"; and want to be able to change the role to suit your current mood of the moment.
Correct. Up until the italic. I have decided. I have decided that my character will do what I choose for him to do. That choice describes his alignment (if that label is used at all), and the reasonable result of the actions I choose will determine either a beneficial or consequencial outcome, whether immediately or down the line or not at all. It's the difference between the game (devs) saying "This action is 'evil' and this action is 'good'", and "This action towards this NPC will result in this outcome". The latter is practical, understandable, and gives me, the role player, agency in the world. The former does not.
I want to roleplay an established character; whose beliefs and attitudes I've already made known to the game engine. I then want to find out how their outlook on life serves them in the situations the game can provide. I may play a John Rambo character first time through the game, and later play a (Disney style) Ichabod Crane PC. Both of these characters might find themselves in a back alley gang fight. If playing the Ichabod PC, I don't want the Rambo attitude options. I'd want the Ichabod options; solutions that might make John Rambo puke like a billy goat, but that could work for an Ichabod Crane (who perhaps would not willingly kill anyone; and faints like a touch-me-not at the sight of blood).
That's fine. But not in Bard's Tale (which you've agreed you're advocating for). So what are you debating?


I'll just re-quote woolfe's great paragraph:
Woolfe wrote:
May 28th, 2017, 5:44 pm
What is alignment. It is the way the player acts. It is not what the player says they are. It is the way they behave. Now a good player has a story that defines the way they play the character, and they stick to that story. A bad player may not, and may bounce all over the place.
Neither is actually wrong. One is more consistent and coherent, but so what. Ultimately the bad player is still just playing a character. If you apply consequences correctly then the way they play becomes more important, and defines their "alignment" through their actions (by actions I mean everything, Choices of speech, choices of gameplay, as well as defined important point choices)

Gizmo wrote:
May 28th, 2017, 6:13 pm
if you can't see the benefits of an alignment descriptor in a roleplaying game, then you are right in thinking it a fundamental failure to communicate.

"in a certain type of roleplaying game" yes. In a another type, it may not be what is desired. "benefit" is entirely subjective. And "descriptor" is not what you're advocating. You prefer a prescriptive Alignment attribute. And that's just fine, in an RPG where the devs want to provide that mechanic (because it alters the gameplay, not merely describing it) and for gamers who desire that type of mechanic (which we don't).
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Gizmo » May 28th, 2017, 7:54 pm

thebruce wrote:
May 28th, 2017, 7:42 pm
Correct. Up until the italic. I have decided.
The italics were the important part. If you've already decided, then I don't understand your irritation with choosing an alignment. If you already know how you will play the PC, why not let the engine be in on the secret?
That's fine.
That's why I prefaced it with those three words.
But not in Bard's Tale (which you've agreed you're advocating for). So what are you debating?
This wasn't a debate, it was clarifying base concepts between us. :lol:

"in a certain type of roleplaying game" yes. In a another type...
Is there another type?

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Drool » May 28th, 2017, 9:15 pm

I really hate derailing this thread even further, but...
Woolfe wrote:
May 28th, 2017, 5:44 pm
And D&D does it very badly. Alignment has always been one of those "ignored" stats.
With a good DM, you can have a lot of fun playing with Alignment, as long as you are creative. I once had a LN Cavalier who largely did what he wanted, because they were in the wilds where the laws didn't apply: "You can't do that, it's against the law!" "I don't see the King's guard here, do you?" He had a personal code he followed ("Death before dishonor!"), but he didn't have any problems with wanton slaughter, pillaging, or plenty of other horrible things. He also treated the Cleric like a woman (putting him in the back and defending him) because he wasn't much of a fighter. He was really kind of an ass, but he was fun. Until a giant stepped on him.

I also ended up writing out a character because he was NE, and I realized that it was that or murder the party in their sleep (and he could have, too). Of course, the best was my Chaotic Neutral (speaking of the Joker) gnome who I played as an adrenaline junkie who did the most ridiculous things I could think of, with no regard at all to character survivability. Like jumping on a minotaur's back. Not to stab him, but to ride him. A common tactic was to have the half-giant barbarian throw him into combat.

That said, yes, much of the time, alignment goes by the wayside because it requires good players and a very good DM.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by thebruce » May 29th, 2017, 5:39 am

Gizmo wrote:
May 28th, 2017, 7:54 pm
thebruce wrote:
May 28th, 2017, 7:42 pm
Correct. Up until the italic. I have decided.
The italics were the important part. If you've already decided, then I don't understand your irritation with choosing an alignment. If you already know how you will play the PC, why not let the engine be in on the secret?
Exaplained. Ad Nauseum.
Gizmo wrote:
May 28th, 2017, 7:54 pm
"in a certain type of roleplaying game" yes. In a another type...
Is there another type?
Yes, there are many types. For this, one does not employ alignment as a game mechanic, and one does. Stop saying or implying that one is not a role playing game.

ETA: And to be on topic again, as mentioned earlier, having restrictions on skills and abilities based on class or physical attributes is not the same as having restrictions on moral and ethical choices available in game based on a label rather than as direct results of past actions. I certainly wouldn't want to have separately managed skills and abilities themselves restricted additionally by assumed alignment labels.
To my original point: Please don't bring Alignment as a game mechanic into Bard's Tale 4. :ugeek:
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Woolfe » May 29th, 2017, 7:31 am

Gizmo wrote:
May 28th, 2017, 6:13 pm
Woolfe wrote:
May 28th, 2017, 5:44 pm
So? Planescape was a specific system. That had a generic attribute. That was specifically created for a P&P world, not a CRPG. Planning for everything is exactly why a generic attribute is not needed. There is nothing that the attribute brings to the game.
There is not that much difference between PnP and cRPG. One started out as a digital version of the other; and if you can't see the benefits of an alignment descriptor in a roleplaying game, then you are right in thinking it a fundamental failure to communicate.
There are a lot of differences. The most significant. A computer can only do what is programmed, a DM can do anything.
For you as the player, of course. But that is where the devs need to be better at what they do. For the devs, it is their world, they created it, they know why.
?
(This is a genuine failure to communicate; because of the context, I honestly don't get your point or meaning here.)
Well you cut the references. This was related to the programming of the things that would affect how the world treated the character.
Simply put a player would not necessarily know all the connections but the devs build them in anyway.
In Fallout 2, the player can get both the grave digger and child-killer titles accidentally; one of these comes from completing a benevolent quest.

I recall, and that was a failure of the way they built the system, the Fallout 2 karma system had potential but was flawed. Specifically because people knew stuff about you where they could not have possibly known it.
Here is another fundamental communication failure... Fallout 2 should not be as some kind of proof in that context. It doesn't matter if the game was broken, the point was the possibility and the example. The mere fact that you can't just assume that interpreted evil acts imply evil intent. Ever see someone grab a chair just as another person decides to sit on it?
(It can be tough to convince them it was not intended too ;); since generally their back was to them, and they didn't actually see what lead up to it.)
But it doesn't matter. The characters actual "alignment" is meaningless, unless you have things reacting to it. If none of the characters in the game saw you do it, then they don't know.
In your example of the chair, it doesn't matter what your "alignment" is when you pulled the chair. It only matters whether you can convince the person you pulled it from that it was an accident. In a game situation you would test your ability to convince the guy. That test would have modifiers. Some would be whether you have a good or bad reputation in the group you are in.
In fact, (additionally) many first time Fallout players unintentionally murder the Necropolis by thoughtlessly taking the water chip home with them as soon as they see it.
So? I can't recall, but did they KNOW taking the chip would kill the necropolis?
This is the point of mentioning it. No, one does not necessarily know that taking the chip will doom the populace to death by dehydration. (But it should have been pretty easy to guess, with all these people out in the desert, and your PC takes off with an active water filtration controller chip.)
*bangs head against wall*
If your character has the intelligence to recognise that taking the chip will cause the local system to fail. Then it becomes a Player choice.
"If you take the waterchip, the necropolis will have no water"
Take it - Yes/No

If you are playing the character as a good guy, you DON'T take it. If you aren't then you might. If you do take it, then the locals who have seen you, or who put 2 and 2 together after you leave, may spread rumours that you did it.

If you had "alignment" as you appear to want it. The character, realises that the chip will take the water, and may kill everyone. They would then not have a choice and would simply leave it.

You cannot just assume that evil acts == evil intentions; nor the reverse with good acts. Meanings can change with the context.
So? That has nothing to do with alignment. Or this argument. No matter the context, your character has a choice.
It has everything to do with alignment. Cementing that point was the only reason I put such a self evident line into print. :?
No you misunderstand. WHO CARES. It doesn't matter if the Evil act had evil intent or not. If you perform the evil act, the people will think you are evil, unless you then go and convince them otherwise.

INTENT IS MEANINGLESS!!!!!!!!!
**And a declared alignment IS part of the context.
It is not. A declared alignment is meaningless. The actions, and how they are perceived are all that matter.
Uh-huh... A declared alignment indicates how to perceive the actions. :roll:

Here is an example: Let's say the PC gives a vagrant a bauble. Is that good or bad? In FO3, the PC can give vagrants waterbottles, and it's always interpreted as good—even though the majority of times it happens is for selfish reasons of public image. So back to the bauble. The PC gives the vagrant a bauble. The benevolent PC might do this to help feed the family of kids the man lied about having. The malevolent PC might do this to see where the man goes when he has something to stash. Under your preference they would both be recorded as a good deed.
Nope. Again MISSING THE POINT. The intent is nothing. The malevolent pc might be doing it to build up a good reputation with the vagrants, so that when he needs to find out the location of the person he is hunting the vagrants will let him know/turn a blind eye.

Alignment is not needed. It is a pointless attribute. If the game reacts to your actions and deeds, then it is superfluous and simply promotes "lazy" gameplay.
Because you seem to think it is related to Alignment?
Because indirectly it is. But that wasn't part of the point being pushed. It was showing a parallel of strongly inhibiting belief. That's what an alignment is.
It has nothing to do with Alignment. That is NOT what an alignment is. Listen to the word. Alignment. As in you are aligned with a certain behaviour. But Aligned does not mean "this is the only thing I will ever do" it simply means that I am more likely to behave that way. Attempting to force players by restricting their choice, does not mean they have an alignment. It simply means you have taken player agency away from them.
And I reiterate we have a fundamental failure to communicate. You keep using examples that do not actually impact on Alignment.
Just as you keep assuming that everything I say must be intended as validation. Some examples are simply there to clarify a later point—not prove it.
And yet they do not clarify or prove anything.
*FACEPALM* The game already knows based on the characters ACTIONS, which unlike a human DM, it can actually remember every single little thing if it so chooses.
What part of "(Especially at the start of the game; where there is no player choice history)", did you not perceive? :?
Faaark.. at the start you are an open book, you have not made choices yet. This is why games like Ultima gave you the questions, it was a way of defining your "alignment" to the virtues, BEFORE your character had actually done anything.
What is alignment. It is the way the player acts.
No.

(I'd give you the reasoning —again, but you don't seem to care about them; and anything I say gets scrutinized for tangents to disprove.)
:(
FUNDAMENTAL FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE.
Your understanding of alignment as it relates to gaming is flawed.
The ONLY reason I can see to have an "alignment" is to add colour to choices. So a Lawful person might have a choice presented to them in a positive way, whilst a Chaotic person has it presented in a negative, and vice versa. But importantly, the CHOICE is still there.
And why must it be the same choice?
What do you have against an alignment based subset of choices?
Would it offend the sensibilities if —years later, you learned that a favorite game didn't offer a certain choice to your PC because of alignment? (Offering a different one instead, and you didn't know.)
FAAARK.
The result you want is the same as want I want. But you want it defined because of a single attribute. Whereas I want it defined due to the ACTIONS that you have taken.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Woolfe » May 29th, 2017, 7:33 am

Drool wrote:
May 28th, 2017, 9:15 pm
That said, yes, much of the time, alignment goes by the wayside because it requires good players and a very good DM.
And this is key to what I was getting at.
A crpg is a bad DM. You cannot do anything outside of its prescribed rules.

A good DM can make magic from alignment matters.
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