Quirks and traits

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sear
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Quirks and traits

Post by sear » May 31st, 2018, 10:20 pm

Hey all,

Just a general call-out to everyone. When you've played RPGs before, what were your favorite quirks, traits, or backgrounds? This can include the ones from Wasteland 2, as well as any other games you've played, such as Arcanum, Fallout, etc. or games that fall outside the CRPG world like Darkest Dungeon?

I'm also curious about what you value most and what you're most likely to pick when playing an RPG. Are you going for mechanical tweaks and stat adjustments that fit your character build? Do you pick things based more on humor and personality? How about special content, encounters, or strange situations? Do you like radical changes that require major play-style adjustments? And when all's said and done, how often do you pick certain types, vs. choosing to just go without any special traits at all?

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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by Grohal » June 1st, 2018, 2:56 am

In RPGs in which I only play one char - like Fallout - I am more likely to pick traits, quirks that make the char overall stronger. Like "Agile" or "Gifted" in Fallout.
When playing a party RPG I am more like to pick traits that fit the build, like giving the guy with high charisma a diplomatic boost or the pistol guy the ability to shoot with two pistols at a time. A party is more forgiving and can cover more stuff that one char.

Special content, encounters etc. shouldn't be exclusive to a certain quirk. Maybe make it more (even much more) likely to happen, but not only getting it IF you have that ONE quirk.
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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by kilobug » June 1st, 2018, 3:40 am

I personally chose the quirks/traits both for role-playing/flavour reasons and for mehcanical/gameplay reasons. In a party-based games, I see quirks/traits more as a way to differentiate the PCs, both in term of mechanics (specialize more the characters) and in term of roleplay, it helps giving them flesh and personality.

I'm not too fond of quirks/traits that are too silly or too weird, or promote some weird hackish way of playing, for example "Disparnumerophobia" in WL2 which encourages you to accumulate XP so you level two levels at once. I like the ones that give real advantages and disadvantages, like Ascetic in WL2, or those that have role-playing value, like "Good Natured" or "Kamikaze" in Fallout 2.

Special content, encounters or strange situations can be interesting. I see two ways to do it. One way to do it is to have it mostly irrelevant from a gameplay perspective, just a few remarks that NPCs can make, and unlocking a few additional lines that the party can say in dialogues, depending on the presence of a given quirk/perk in the team, but without making it required to fail/success a quest one way (perhaps at most make a skill check slightly easier/harder), and that would be in addition to normal quirk effects. Another way to do it would be to have the quirk mostly about creating (or avoiding) certain kind of encounters/situations, that can be interesting if done well, but it's very easy to make it either mostly irrelevant, or game-breaking.

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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by Drool » June 1st, 2018, 3:16 pm

sear wrote:
May 31st, 2018, 10:20 pm
I'm also curious about what you value most and what you're most likely to pick when playing an RPG. Are you going for mechanical tweaks and stat adjustments that fit your character build?
It really depends. On a first playthrough, especially with a Lone Hero game, I usually go for mechanical advantage. On subsequent playthroughs, I'll often pick weird ones, or funny ones, or ones that fit the character from a role-play perspective.

Looking at WL2 Quirks, there's two I want to highlight if you all are going over things: Unlucky and the animal one. They were both great on paper but really fell apart in practice. I went through an entire game with Unlucky, finding every location and doing every quest, and I still had it trigger about 5 times over the entire game, roughly 70 hours of playtime. And four of those times it hit me. It didn't need to be constant, but once every 14 hours seems a bit much.

The animal one seemed like it'd be fun or funny, but the advantage was too miniscule to be of any use, the animal whisper skill itself was underbaked and highly niche, and it was just generally too weak and pointless to use, even with an RP-centered run.

And this is coming from someone who always takes Wild Wasteland when playing New Vegas.
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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by Gizmo » June 1st, 2018, 8:53 pm

sear wrote:
May 31st, 2018, 10:20 pm
When you've played RPGs before, what were your favorite quirks, traits, or backgrounds?
This can include the ones from Wasteland 2, as well as any other games you've played, such as Arcanum, Fallout, etc. or games that fall outside the CRPG world like Darkest Dungeon?
Arcanum is a fine example to try to surpass when implementing quirks & traits in an RPG.

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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by Godfather101 » June 2nd, 2018, 2:47 am

I like special encounters based on quirks/traits, or evene things like dialog options/storys which are available because of a quirk/trait.
So if theres something like this, that is my first choice.
If i've taken all the things which give me more story/dialog/options/things to explore i go for mechanical benefits like bonus to attributes/faster leveling/better to hit chance and things like that.

But for me, i enjoy Rpgs with much Story/characters/dialogs/things to discover-explore.
Thats what i'm looking forward to.

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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by Woolfe » June 2nd, 2018, 6:30 am

As with Grohol... I am more likely to take game winning traits in a single character experience, whereas a party will fit the role... with some variation for character....
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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by Gizmo » June 2nd, 2018, 12:01 pm

I choose traits that fit the character; the point is to see how they would fare in the game's situations—and they should be able to fail or succeed.

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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by sear » June 3rd, 2018, 7:09 am

Gizmo wrote:
June 1st, 2018, 8:53 pm
Arcanum is a fine example to try to surpass when implementing quirks & traits in an RPG.
I love Arcanum's traits for the way they integrate into the background of the world. Some of them are also just really funny and filled with personality.

Thanks for the answers everyone - sounds like there's a pretty big mix of what people want out of a system like this. That's kind of what I expected and definitely good to know.

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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by Lakstoties » June 3rd, 2018, 3:23 pm

sear wrote:
June 3rd, 2018, 7:09 am
Thanks for the answers everyone - sounds like there's a pretty big mix of what people want out of a system like this. That's kind of what I expected and definitely good to know.
The main thing I pay attention to with traits and similar is what do they offer me that I can't get anywhere else.

As with many RPG's both computer and tabletop, strictly mechanical traits aren't that interesting... Unless they grant you something you cannot get anywhere else the system. A lot of merit and flaw systems fall into the rut of numeric shuffling based around certain contexts and situations. A lot of those bits can easily be short-circuited or bypassed and lead to some weird gameplay issues. With a podcast I listen to, it's become a trope to find a merit and flaw system in game: https://systemmasterypodcast.com/catego ... m-mastery/ (Great podcast as they pick apart a bunch of older game systems and explore the many, many issues.)

If you are going to do any kind of merits, flaws, and traits type of system, there's two rules I've followed when navigating those things.

1. Does it offer me something I cannot get via any other component of the game?
2. Is what is offers significant in breadth and depth?

If you can make a trait combine those two rules together, you got a winner in my book. Especially, if there's no forward mechanic drawbacks. That's another pitfall in many systems where they overload what would be a serviceable trait with metric fuck-ton of bad shit that is completely out of scale with the benefit. One example of this from Wasteland 2 was "Two-Pump Chump". Nice bonus for two turns... But you are fucked for the rest of the combat. And for longer combats, this drawback turns into a nightmare that far out scales whatever benefit was granted. If the drawback had been limited to even five turns, it would have been okay, since you have effectively paid collectively -5 AP and -75% accuracy for +4 AP and +50% accuracy early.

So, I'd warn against putting serious drawbacks on any given trait. Just start everyone at a nice baseline and let them get boosts in the ways they want. I mean, they are semi-heroic types that not your typical dirt farming scrubs.

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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by Zombra » June 3rd, 2018, 11:56 pm

I enjoy Traits that fundamentally change the way a character is played, by giving and taking away. Fast Shot in Fallout is a good example: -1 AP per shot taken, but aimed shots completely disabled. Most of the Wasteland 2 Quirks were excellent I think. (My party used Brittle Bones, Heavy Handed, Opportunist, and Delayed Gratification, and they all impacted gameplay in an interesting way.)

I also enjoy Traits that play into my character concept in some way. I enjoyed taking Four Eyes on my nerd gunslinger in New Vegas.

I don't enjoy when Traits or Quirks are overexplained - W2 was very guilty of this. Don't tell me my character had to be raised by monks if I want the Ascetic Quirk. A Quirk that reduces movement speed but increases AP doesn't have to be a birth defect. Just tell me what it does and let me decide how it fits my character's backstory. Dodging attacks means I fainted? Not sure I like that. I mean I can always just ignore the descriptions (and I did), but having them in the first place is kind of a turnoff.

I don't enjoy Traits that are ridiculously unbalanced or easily exploitable, like Gifted or Disparnumerophobia. Not because I take them, but because I'm sick of hearing about powergamer cookie cutter builds on forums :)
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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by Woolfe » June 4th, 2018, 1:12 am

Zombra wrote:
June 3rd, 2018, 11:56 pm
I don't enjoy when Traits or Quirks are overexplained - W2 was very guilty of this. Don't tell me my character had to be raised by monks if I want the Ascetic Quirk. A Quirk that reduces movement speed but increases AP doesn't have to be a birth defect. Just tell me what it does and let me decide how it fits my character's backstory. Dodging attacks means I fainted? Not sure I like that. I mean I can always just ignore the descriptions (and I did), but having them in the first place is kind of a turnoff.

I don't enjoy Traits that are ridiculously unbalanced or easily exploitable, like Gifted or Disparnumerophobia. Not because I take them, but because I'm sick of hearing about powergamer cookie cutter builds on forums :)
Good points both....
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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by Mole204 » June 5th, 2018, 8:57 pm

(this is a post discussing things on-topic to quirks and traits)
>I'm also curious about what you value most
A good RPG to start with. The quality of game-enjoyment is dependent on the quality of the game.
It needs to be entertaining. I've been thinking about Dragon Wars and how I enjoyed it.
>Do you pick things based more on humor and personality?
I see that they just made a new Decent, and you know what I liked most about the first game? The snark. The quiet little string of cutting retorts internally-said by the player's avatar. Drop swearing, make it entertaining. Really tear a strip off someone.
"I suppose if they were any more encouraging, they'd be shooting me right now."

>and what you're most likely to pick when playing an RPG.
DND- Wizard. High INT, low STR, a dagger and a staff that blows things up. Brains over brawn, even when playing brawn.
CIV- Victory through sleaze. Player 2: "Oh! My capital exploded! WHO could have DONE such a thing!"
Player 1 "I'll just seize these and use them to take over your ruined kingdom."
Wasteland 2- Guns and how to mod them. Bots and how to hack them. It's enough to make me miss being trapped in Cochise Base.
Wasteland 1- Brawling because eventually it all comes down to the guy with the ax.

I'm an "empire builder" player. In wl2, it came down to going out and killing randoms to take their stuff to buy good stuff to use in the main mission. So that involved combat skills. By which I mean the plasma rifle, the proton ax, Lex and two medics. Bushwhack robots and take their stuff.
So I tend to look for anything that can reveal more of the dialogue, more of the map, more of the items. Play the percentages, tilt the math in my favour. So therefore, I tend to buff the traits that get the results I like. Can I see landmines? Can I find loot? Can I steamroller a bunch of foes? Because in WL2, like 1, it always came down to the guy with the superweapon, and his team that's just there to back him up with numbers.
Or did they mean favorite quirks as in "let's make amusing insanity detriments like the guy who's afraid of lemons, or the guy who's knock-out-allergic to celery."

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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by DexGames » June 8th, 2018, 8:37 am

1st : Mostly the Talkative Traits, everything that revolves around discussion with an npc.
I'm playing the Shadowrun Series for the first time atm, [totally loving it], & I love the "Etiquette" thing. This is truely great. Some inspirations from these games could fit very well, & benefits Wasteland 3.

2nd : Loving what you said about Encounters & strange situations. I think about this as secret things, unlocked by such traits & quirks.
[Kind of like what you've done with the Survival Skill]

3rd : Tactically Based Advantages, or Weapons Mods. [I hope you'll be able to expand on what you did in W2 on that regards], Modding Weapons is one of the coolest thing. [Suppressors, Magazines, Accuracy, Fire Modes (Auto, Rafale, Single shots, etc), any Ameliorations you can think of, go ham on this.

But yeah, regarding Traits, I'd guess the Talkative & Tactical Side of things is what we all, supposedly, tend to go for at first.
Then the weird & funny stuff.

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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by coaxmetal » June 9th, 2018, 11:52 am

Fantastic, I'd split the traits into social and combat and allow a number of each rather than gimping a character completely.

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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by Xultun » June 29th, 2018, 3:35 am

Wacky waste land from Fallout NV and etiquette traits from shadowrun are the best types but if considering stat impacting traits please consider what i always thought was the best system for that kind of system and it goes all the way back to Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall character creator where you could assign positive and negitive traits. Too many over all positive traits severely ham strung experience gain (sliding scale each trait had a weight attached)

It let the player decide what they would permanently give up as negitive trait/s
Example :
Can not use plate armor (weight of +2)
for trait/s they wanted example :
sword proficiency (weight of -2)
light armor efficiency (weight -2 and an additional -1 for each postive trait over negative)
movement speed +5% (weight -1 and additional -2)
would leave an over all score of -7 which would apply a 40% experience penalty for the character at low levels 40 isnt much but later levels became quite hefty. Negitive traits didn't have cumulative weighting. Above is a simplified version going from memory and is probably missing a few of the finer details.

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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by Stuurminator » June 29th, 2018, 2:21 pm

I like a trait that changes up the way the character is played. One Hander, in Fallout, is a good example of this; Manic Depressive, in Wasteland 2, is another (at least, assuming you don't cheese it by waiting out the clock). Both of these force you to change the way you either build or equip your character throughout the game. Traits are a great way for me to make my team members stand out from one another; weapon specialization, skills, and attribute differences helped that too, of course, but I suppose traits make the biggest difference pound-for-pound.

I don't care for perks that are simply overpowered, such as Gifted, or ones that you don't notice, such as Fast Metabolism. Thankfully, neither of the ones in Wasteland 2 fell into those categories unless you started playing in a very unnatural way in order to game the system.

A little off topic, but one thing I'd definitely like is for NPCs in the game to have traits as well - not just recruitables, but my enemies, too. Whether they're mundane traits or truly freakish, that would really make the world feel alive.

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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by sear » June 29th, 2018, 2:40 pm

Stuurminator wrote:
June 29th, 2018, 2:21 pm
I don't care for perks that are simply overpowered, such as Gifted, or ones that you don't notice, such as Fast Metabolism. Thankfully, neither of the ones in Wasteland 2 fell into those categories unless you started playing in a very unnatural way in order to game the system.
This was one of our goals with Wasteland 2 - we wanted to be less of a direct trade-off or something you could exploit, and more something that would change your play-style.

Definitely plan to continue in that direction for Wasteland 3, and this thread was all about getting a read on what types of trade-offs and interesting things you want to see. :)

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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by Drool » June 29th, 2018, 2:42 pm

Stuurminator wrote:
June 29th, 2018, 2:21 pm
I don't care for perks that are simply overpowered, such as Gifted, or ones that you don't notice, such as Fast Metabolism. Thankfully, neither of the ones in Wasteland 2 fell into those categories unless you started playing in a very unnatural way in order to game the system.
The animal one kind of did. After the first couple areas, there was very little animal handling being used, and making them detonate was giggle-worthy, but...
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Re: Quirks and traits

Post by Zombra » June 29th, 2018, 3:10 pm

Drool wrote:
June 29th, 2018, 2:42 pm
Stuurminator wrote:
June 29th, 2018, 2:21 pm
I don't care for perks that are simply overpowered, such as Gifted, or ones that you don't notice, such as Fast Metabolism. Thankfully, neither of the ones in Wasteland 2 fell into those categories unless you started playing in a very unnatural way in order to game the system.
The animal one kind of did. After the first couple areas, there was very little animal handling being used, and making them detonate was giggle-worthy, but...
Animal Husbandry was not appealing at all. Increasing my passive bonus but then taking it away entirely? The whole point of passive buffs is being able to count on them without thinking about it.
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