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Role-Player's RPG Roundtable #3: Character Creation

Diogo Ribeiro

Erudite
Joined
Jun 23, 2003
Messages
5,706
Location
Lisboa, Portugal
Role-Player's RPG Roundtable #3: Character Creation

Well, this is the third thread in the 'series'. The first dealt with roleplaying in a broader sense, the second with character development via class and skill-based systems.

With this thread i'm aiming for character creation. Not just to discuss a particular system and its strengths and weaknessess, but also to come up with new systems, particularly, systems integrated directly with the gameplay (such as that of the Elder Scrolls, specially Morrowind, and System Shock 2).

First, the diversity aspect. Is it better to give players more diverse character options that might end up being superfluous (but appealing, nonetheless), or better to limit them and focus on what's really important (but ending up with a somewhat dry character creation)? Typical comparison, Fallout and Baldur's Gate. BG allowed for more customization elements - races, skin colour, hair colour, clothing colour, a character biography, voice sets, pictures; meanwhile, FO focused merely on giving players two avatars, dependant on gender choice, and Traits. But while in BG i can make my character look and sound differently via multiple elements, those elements are vastly superficial, and aren't really taken into account in the game (the main things taken into account are race and gender). In FO, the lack of customization is staggering, but the chances to make my character different are still found, only instead of customization, its trough the course of the game, according to what i do.

While i prefer to have some extras thrown in, i think there should be a considerable focus in quality instead of quantity. I'd rather have more important elements like character backgrounds that might influence my game (like Arcanum's Backgrounds), and a cutdown in selection of skin colour, for instance (though i'm fine with hair styles and hair colour).

Also, are inventory avatars important? They were fun in some games, but a minimalistic approach, or even their absence, doesn't really bother me. Fallout's way of using the ingame avatar for Dolly Dress Up purposes was fine with me.

Second, what system do you feel allowed for better character creation? SPECIAL? Elder Scrolls? AD&D or D&D? Steam? Wizardry (which was somewhat based off AD&D 1st Edition, anyway)? Geneforge/Avernum? Other?

Third, what kind of system do you prefer for character creation? The standard one of just giving a screen with adjustable elements and be done with it, or do you like more gameplay-oriented systems, like Morrowind's initial opening scene (a prisoner giving his vital information to guards), or even System Shock 2's system (choosing a one year 'career' which determined your initial aptitudes, though you never saw your training, unfortunately)? Feel free to mention other system, as before.

I'm asking that last question to see people's interest in a minor system i've come up. Nothing special, not very well defined or anything (there's not even a particular story behind it), it just gathers some elements to build the skeleton of a character creation system, similar to that of Morrowind's.

The system basically entails the following.

***************************************

The game section begins with a routine prisoner transfer. You and other prisoners have been 'recycled' and are going to be sent to a working colony. Just like the others, you have to go trough a routine check to gather your vital information so a file containing your information is readily available to the directors of the colony.

A guard opens you cell door, and tells you to get ready. This gives player control of the character (although like in Morrowind, its fixed in a first person perspective). You are guided to the medical area, and told to place yourself in line. As you wait, your hear minor whispered conversations between other inmates, and they express their curiosity as to where they'll be taken. After some moments waiting, its your turn.

In this section, a doctor tells you to enter the room. He's sitting behind his table, with his assistant on his right side and a nurse on his left. He tells his assistant to give you your file. The assistant takes it out and places it on the doctor's table, but clumsily hits a receptacle, which falls, letting the beverage inside it spread all over the table, including your file. The doctor threatens to fire the assistant on the spot on grounds of continuous incompetence, but calms a little after the assistant apologizes several times in a row. The nurse just smiles. Disgruntled, the doctor complains that a copy of your file would take too long to track down, so he decides to ask you your information.

The first element is the name. Aside the standard opportunity of typing their name, players could be given a random name generator as well. After that, you're taken by the nurse to an adjoining room. Here she tells you to quickly take your clothes off and to place yourself on top of a weighing scale. She looks you over, glancing at the weight reading. Then she grabs a small paper and starts dictating to yourself as she types. "The specimen is ...." and here you select your gender. She complains that she knows that, and keeps writing, murmuring your weight (but not saying the actual value loud). She tells you to dress up, and to rejoin the doctor in the other room.

After this, the doctor asks you about your background, if there is anything you'd like to mention. Here you're given a choice of background (similar to a Trait). You can also opt to choose 'none'.

>At this point, i was considering the option of the doctor to ask the player what his physical aptitudes are, which would prompt for a point-buy system of attributes: Power, Speed, Endurance, Sense, Insight, and Charm.

Incidentally i could instead create a section, prior to the guard letting you out of your cell, where you're training, and each part of training determined your stats. For instance, in one 'month' (similar to SS2's years, but with actual gameplay), you could be training Speed in recreation hour, and the amount of time it takes you to run trough an obstacle course (randonly generated) would determine your Speed. In another month, you could be studying in the prison's library and be told to read some books, and questions about them would determine your Insight rating, etc. I only have problems with applying a similar scheme to Charm.<

Regardless, after all the info is given, you and the remaining prisoners are taken to the upper part of the building. Your character sees the outside for the first time, but its only momentarily, as a bulky ship heads towards the building, landing afterwards. You're quickly told to enter.

After a brief moment, the prisoners are all put inside cells in an area of the ship, which takes off as soon as a guard informs the navigation room that all the prisoners are locked up. The ship heads towards the colony, accompanied by small escort vehicules (small, one-man flying vehicules, controlled by guards).

You remain silent during the trip, and there are no incidents worthy of memory, merely the ocasional prisoner insulting the guards, or cursing the day he was caught. All is calm, until everyone feels something coliding against the ship. Everyone feels the shock, and within seconds, all the electronic and mechanical systems fail, momentarily disabling communications, engines, and power routing. The power is eventually back up, but the cells' electronic blocking system goes haywire, and the doors are unlocked for a while. All the prisoners try to leave the cells as quickly as possible before power comes back on, and the guards are ultimately powerless to contain all the escapees. Small skirmishes ensue, and there are casualties on both sides, but the prisoners manage to create a small stronghold, defending the room in which they were being held. Taking up the weapons of the guards, a small number of escapees decides to seize control of the ship.

As they plan this, something else collides against the ship, but this time explosions can be heard. A warning that the engine room has been hit is heard across the various speakers spread over the ship, and now its no longer about escaping, its about surviving. Every prisoner for themself is the motto, and several groups go for several possible escape routes. At this point the player chooses the directions he wants to go.

Whatever the direction, the player will be confronted with several obstacles, which are mostly left to the player to decide how to act. In these sections, a group of escapees might need the players' help in doing something, and doing that something will provide the player with skills.

For instance, a group of escapees are cornered by guards and are fighting back with ranged weapons. One of the prisoners is shot and dies, and one of the other prisoners tells you to pick up the gun and help them. You can help them, or leave the area and go into other directions. In another section, an old escapee might have been shot and is dying. He tells you that you need to pass trough the door in the room but the door is locked. He knows how to open locked doors but in his current condition, trying to escape is useless. He then teaches you how to handle locks, and you learn the skill, allowing you to then escape trough the door. Some of the skills available to learn include the usage of ranged weapons, melee weapons, lock picking, hand to hand combat, stealth, etc. I'm thinking if its viable to create solutions where the character can be told how to cast certain spells (like Cure or Harm).

Either way, there will be several escape points, which you can reach by successfully passing trough the afforementioned situations, or even by avoiding them. By the end, all it matters is escaping - even if you don't learn any skills now, they will be available at a future date.

The closer you get to the exit, the more you feel the ship collapsing. Debries and smoke are everywhere, alert claxons sound loudly in competition with cries for help. Whatever escape location you reach, you manage to see the ship quickly plummeting to the ground. As you do, The ship breaks in several pieces as more explosions are felt and heard, and in a moment of blind faith, you decide to jump. When you do, you manage to fall on top the back of one of the one-man flying vehicules that followed the ship. The guard notices you and starts trying to push you off the edge of the vehicule. A small battle ensues (possibly with a sort of minigame, to determine who gets the most hits against the opponent).

a) If you fail to get control of the vehicule and throwing the guard away from it, you just fall into the water, and manage to dive up to the surface, dragging yourself onto thr shore

b) If you do manage to get the better of him, then both of you will fall off the vehicule, into the water, while the vehicule trails off and crashes. You manage to dive up to the surface, dragging the body of the guard. After dragging yourself and him to the shore, you check him and notice he's dead. You then decide to take his uniform and general clothing.

*If you managed to learn melee skills, the guard will have a dagger. If you learned the ranged weapons skill, he'll have a small, low-power firearm with a small amount of ammo.

At this point the player would be able to explore the world.
 

Vault Dweller

Commissar, Red Star Studio
Developer
Joined
Jan 7, 2003
Messages
27,926
Role-Player said:
Is it better to give players more diverse character options that might end up being superfluous (but appealing, nonetheless), or better to limit them and focus on what's really important (but ending up with a somewhat dry character creation)?
Less is more.

In FO, the lack of customization is staggering, but the chances to make my character different are still found, only instead of customization, its trough the course of the game, according to what i do.
There are different customizations: the ones that affect gameplay and the ones that don't. I don't really care about the ones that don't. How many times have you looked at your BG character and marveled at your choice of hair color?

Also, are inventory avatars important? They were fun in some games, but a minimalistic approach, or even their absence, doesn't really bother me.
I didn't like the IE ones. The ingame avatars (Fallout, IWD2) work best, imo.

Second, what system do you feel allowed for better character creation? SPECIAL? Elder Scrolls? AD&D or D&D? Steam? Wizardry (which was somewhat based off AD&D 1st Edition, anyway)? Geneforge/Avernum? Other?
That's easy. SPECIAL. Fallout featured the best and most flexible char system. The ES system is too simplistic, and the last incarnation was dumbed down a lot. DnD is too restrictive. Steam was overcomplicated a bit, imo. Wiz was too DnD-ish but had several extremely nice touches that would have made MW a much better game, Avernum was good. Prelude was very good too.

Third, what kind of system do you prefer for character creation? The standard one of just giving a screen with adjustable elements and be done with it, or do you like more gameplay-oriented systems, like Morrowind's initial opening scene
Definitely the standard one. If you recall, MW system was cute at first, but it became boring as you start rolling different characters. As a result, the option to bypass it was added making all the efforts to make such a system wasted. Maybe if it was faster?

In this section, a doctor tells you to enter the room. He's sitting behind his table, with his assistant on his right side and a nurse on his left. He tells his assistant to give you your file. The assistant takes it out and places it on the doctor's table, but clumsily hits a receptacle, which falls, letting the beverage inside it spread all over the table, including your file. The doctor threatens to fire the assistant on the spot on grounds of continuous incompetence, but calms a little after the assistant apologizes several times in a row. The nurse just smiles. Disgruntled, the doctor complains that a copy of your file would take too long to track down, so he decides to ask you your information.
That's already too long (no offense to your idea), it sounds fine and logical, but watching more then several times would be boring, watching her hitting that receptacle, listening to her conversation with the doctor, knowing what happens next, etc. If you add an option to bypass it too, then most people would see it once and then switch to the standard option. So why not start with that option to begin with?

For instance, a group of escapees are cornered by guards and are fighting back with ranged weapons. One of the prisoners is shot and dies, and one of the other prisoners tells you to pick up the gun and help them. You can help them, or leave the area and go into other directions. In another section, an old escapee might have been shot and is dying. He tells you that you need to pass trough the door in the room but the door is locked. He knows how to open locked doors but in his current condition, trying to escape is useless. He then teaches you how to handle locks, and you learn the skill, allowing you to then escape trough the door. Some of the skills available to learn include the usage of ranged weapons, melee weapons, lock picking, hand to hand combat, stealth, etc. I'm thinking if its viable to create solutions where the character can be told how to cast certain spells (like Cure or Harm).
I don't think that you can learn picking locks when you're trying to get the hell out of an about-to-explode ship. If I were designing something like that, I'd have several options to escape or move from one area of the ship to another. Whatever you choose, that's what you're somewhat good at. If you picked up that gun, then you're proficient with guns, if you picked the lock, then ... In that case, you're not learning now, you're applying skills you already know. So basically, same as you described, but no learning.
 

Megatron

Liturgist
Joined
Dec 7, 2002
Messages
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I'd like to play through the giving information bit if there was more options. Mabye being able too fill in the form yourself, remaining silent throughout or stripping down and taking a shit on the desk. It's elements like these I'd have liked too have seen in Morrowind. Why couldn't me and that other dude over-power the guard, fight our way through the ship then him lead me too some pirate hide-out or something. I'd have preferred that too talking too some old guy about my star sign. Perhaps there should be the obvious way too do things, then being able too use your imagination and getting a certain class or stats with traits only available too that option. Like the over-powering of the guards could be pirate or something, while killing everyone and escaping could be psychopath?

I usually find those kind of things boring as they're so restrictive, or you don't know what you're choosing so have too go through it all again if you fuck up. There should be the option of doing it out of game, though if you wanted to get as immersed into the game as you could and stick with your choices the in-game option is also good.

The situation you described also sounds a bit like the Judge Dredd movie or something? I like prison stuff though, it seems like a cliche though you rarely see it mebbe.
 

Diogo Ribeiro

Erudite
Joined
Jun 23, 2003
Messages
5,706
Location
Lisboa, Portugal
Vault Dweller said:
I didn't like the IE ones. The ingame avatars (Fallout, IWD2) work best, imo.

I thought it was a good idea to use the ingame avatar instead of a paper doll for Fallout. Same with ToEE.

That's easy. SPECIAL. Fallout featured the best and most flexible char system.

While SPECIAL is one of my favourites, the problem is that i found that at levels 20-23, you usually become overpowered. This was more noticeable in FO2.

The ES system is too simplistic, and the last incarnation was dumbed down a lot.

I wouldn't call it exactly too simplistic, rather, easily abusable.

Steam was overcomplicated a bit, imo.

I didn't find it overcomplicated, but they overdid it by giving players the ability to toggle everything.

That's already too long (no offense to your idea), it sounds fine and logical, but watching more then several times would be boring, watching her hitting that receptacle, listening to her conversation with the doctor, knowing what happens next, etc. If you add an option to bypass it too, then most people would see it once and then switch to the standard option. So why not start with that option to begin with?

Well adding a "Skip sequence" option is certainly possible. Most of this sequence can be 'cut', so to speak, and minor, important parts - such as telling the player he will be transfered, asking for gender and stats, and background - can be the only ones that remain as mandatory. A toggle can be added.

I don't think that you can learn picking locks when you're trying to get the hell out of an about-to-explode ship.

Granted, but this was meant to be a situation which carried an element of disbelief for it to work. If you were trying to escape from this kind of situation, likewise you wouldn't waste your time helping other escapees kill guards as well, you'd be trying to escape before the ship exploded.

Regardless, your point is taken into consideration :)

EDIT: Perhaps if a timer was set, alerting the player to reach safety in a given time frame, the player could decide what skills, based on remaining time, he should take?

If I were designing something like that, I'd have several options to escape or move from one area of the ship to another. Whatever you choose, that's what you're somewhat good at. If you picked up that gun, then you're proficient with guns, if you picked the lock, then ... In that case, you're not learning now, you're applying skills you already know. So basically, same as you described, but no learning.

The player character is meant to be a blank slate, with no real knowledge of the outside world, or of most of its elements (this is mostly because of background story, though); the character knows what a weapon is, or what a lock is, he simply doesn't know how to operate them. The point of the initial sequence is to give chances for the character to learn how to operate or do some things. Consider that you've seen firearms along your life, and know how to operate them, possibly from studying their use, but you never actually used them - therefore you're lacking the knowledge in proper use (despite already having theoretical knowledge of its use). These segments are meant to familiarize the character with proper handling of the elements, not teach him all there is about them.

In gameplay terms, this means your character has zero skills learned at the beginning of the game. If he decides to tackle one of these situations, he 'gains' a new skill, although is just a rookie.

Also for the purpose of the idea, the locked door in the falling ship would be low level, and very easy to break; the character just has to be taught the right way. In fact, the most primitive form of the skill might revolve around breaking low level locks with minimal tools; advanced stages of the skill might include a swift, experienced disabling.
 

Human Shield

Augur
Joined
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Messages
2,027
Location
VA, USA
Role-Player said:
First, the diversity aspect. Is it better to give players more diverse character options that might end up being superfluous (but appealing, nonetheless), or better to limit them and focus on what's really important (but ending up with a somewhat dry character creation)?

More options that all matter. I never found that tagging doctor or outdoors in Fallout useful. If they gave more abilities and bonuses and more in-game effects then it makes playing differents characters more interesting. The more you cut down of options the power shifts from player to developer, do most players want to play a passive doctor in Fallout? No, but you can try.

Typical comparison, Fallout and Baldur's Gate. BG allowed for more customization elements - races, skin colour, hair colour, clothing colour, a character biography, voice sets, pictures; meanwhile, FO focused merely on giving players two avatars, dependant on gender choice, and Traits.

And Wizardy 8 doesn't even have models. I loved the sprites in Fallout, I care about animation more then pretty colors. In Fallout I liked watching my guy fight and blast apart foes, I liked the way he drew his gun and reloaded (ejecting clip every so often with SMGs). I would have liked more gun models and animations. I could downloads tons of nice looking face models in Morrowind (god knows the default ones aren't pretty) and wear thousands of different clothes but I still look retarded when I walk and attack in 3rd person.

While i prefer to have some extras thrown in, i think there should be a considerable focus in quality instead of quantity. I'd rather have more important elements like character backgrounds that might influence my game (like Arcanum's Backgrounds), and a cutdown in selection of skin colour, for instance (though i'm fine with hair styles and hair colour).

I like customizing options but I like to see them matter. Why can't strength adjust the size of my character or face selection result in charisma or intimidation adjustments. I can make an ugly freak that charms everyone and they say out good they look. I usually like protraits, my Wizardary 8 party if half custom portraits but general fantasy ones are much easier to find then a unique sci-fi setting.

Also, are inventory avatars important? They were fun in some games, but a minimalistic approach, or even their absence, doesn't really bother me. Fallout's way of using the ingame avatar for Dolly Dress Up purposes was fine with me.

Generic for gender and/or race is fine, like Wizardy 8.

Second, what system do you feel allowed for better character creation? SPECIAL? Elder Scrolls? AD&D or D&D? Steam? Wizardry (which was somewhat based off AD&D 1st Edition, anyway)? Geneforge/Avernum? Other?

I mostly liked the Elder Scrolls system, that classes were just sets of chosen skills, but most of the skills weren't fun. Wizardy had a bunch of classes and races that you could fine something you wanted. D&D 3rd was too limiting in classes, I had to save skill points and take a level in rogue if I wanted to get their skills in NWN. But the kits in BG2 were alright. But Fallout was the best in the way they presented and used the skills, every level had something to look forward to (until you get into 300% skill BS with FO2), and the perks were great. I'm still surprised by the "character select" in Fallout everytime I go to make a custom character (should have option to permently take that screen off).

Third, what kind of system do you prefer for character creation? The standard one of just giving a screen with adjustable elements and be done with it, or do you like more gameplay-oriented systems, like Morrowind's initial opening scene (a prisoner giving his vital information to guards), or even System Shock 2's system (choosing a one year 'career' which determined your initial aptitudes, though you never saw your training, unfortunately)? Feel free to mention other system, as before.

SS2 was good because it was the only time you got to see Earth cities and had interesting info behind the choices you made, you could walk by the training rooms and walk straight to the options but the surroundings and cutscenes were still nice to see. Replaying was never a pain.

Morrowind is a pain to start a new character after the first time I have to keep trying to skip the stupid dialouge and wait for the characters to slowly walk around and have the game tell me "Go equip this, pick up that, open the door", just shut up you don't need to tell me the forward key makes me move. Then character creation opens as a menu, way to waste my time.

A guard opens you cell door, and tells you to get ready. This gives player control of the character (although like in Morrowind, its fixed in a first person perspective). You are guided to the medical area, and told to place yourself in line. As you wait, your hear minor whispered conversations between other inmates, and they express their curiosity as to where they'll be taken. After some moments waiting, its your turn.

Unneeded lockdown for an RPG, this would be fine for a FPS but if you want to make a different character you have to see the same unskipable cutscene. As "guided" you mean all the other doors are blocked and they tell you to go to the medical center. I don't want to wait in line waiting for the same scripts to activate and play through.

In this section, a doctor tells you to enter the room. He's sitting behind his table, with his assistant on his right side and a nurse on his left. He tells his assistant to give you your file. The assistant takes it out and places it on the doctor's table, but clumsily hits a receptacle, which falls, letting the beverage inside it spread all over the table, including your file. The doctor threatens to fire the assistant on the spot on grounds of continuous incompetence, but calms a little after the assistant apologizes several times in a row. The nurse just smiles. Disgruntled, the doctor complains that a copy of your file would take too long to track down, so he decides to ask you your information.

That is pretty stupid IMO, watching the same accidents over and over isn't my idea of an immersive RPG world. He should hand it to you and ask you to verify and you fill out everything as if it was always there.

The first element is the name. Aside the standard opportunity of typing their name, players could be given a random name generator as well. After that, you're taken by the nurse to an adjoining room. Here she tells you to quickly take your clothes off and to place yourself on top of a weighing scale. She looks you over, glancing at the weight reading. Then she grabs a small paper and starts dictating to yourself as she types. "The specimen is ...." and here you select your gender. She complains that she knows that, and keeps writing, murmuring your weight (but not saying the actual value loud). She tells you to dress up, and to rejoin the doctor in the other room.

If the player knows it why does the game not want to hear it first thing? I want to tell the game who I am as an option instead of having it poke me around for bits of info that it should already know in this example.

If I wanted to play a convict I would set that as a background and give myself up at the first town. I am tired of this "start out with jack shit because you are a noob LOL", the best way to a start is a random person in a town or city, background is decided by the player with lore skill being the amount he has learned and any skills can be thought of as upbringing from where ever the player wants. At the first introduction you choose to make to someone they can ask you where you are from and what your life was like and that answer becomes truth (including "I don't want to answer").
 

Transcendent One

Liturgist
Joined
Nov 21, 2003
Messages
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Fortress of Regrets
First, the diversity aspect. Is it better to give players more diverse character options that might end up being superfluous (but appealing, nonetheless), or better to limit them and focus on what's really important (but ending up with a somewhat dry character creation)? Typical comparison, Fallout and Baldur's Gate. BG allowed for more customization elements - races, skin colour, hair colour, clothing colour, a character biography, voice sets, pictures; meanwhile, FO focused merely on giving players two avatars, dependant on gender choice, and Traits. But while in BG i can make my character look and sound differently via multiple elements, those elements are vastly superficial, and aren't really taken into account in the game (the main things taken into account are race and gender). In FO, the lack of customization is staggering, but the chances to make my character different are still found, only instead of customization, its trough the course of the game, according to what i do
How exactly is Fallout an example of staggering lack of customization? Unless you mean customization = hair colour, I don't see how BG's amount of option selection can go beyond that of Fallout.
And then there comes this little issue. BG does have a fair bit of customization. So does Fallout. However in Fallout, other than name, age, and maybe some other things that I'm forgetting, everything is significant. Just selecting gender would have some impact of gameplay. On the other hand, BG suffered from a staggering lack of insignificant choices. Classes were rigid and restrictive. In Fallout, how many builds of fighter can you have? Tons. And each would warrant a different experience. In BG? Well you could play a 3 dex fighter vs 18 dex, but ultimately the two will be almost exact carbon copies of each other. Heck even picking different proficiencies... a fighter with a dagger would take longer to kill stuff than a fighter with a longsowrd, and yet both will offer a similar experience. Only a mage or maybe cleric/druid stand out as truly "customizable" in BG. Some stuff in BG is logical to matter (ahem I just walked into a public area, I have pointy ears and white hair, and yes, you guessed, it, I have black skin too, and wow everyone is giving me all these warm greetings :shock: ), and yet it doesn't.

My point is that I don't care for tons of options if 90% of them don't do shit. Even if there were only three classes in some game a la PS:T, and yet each of them gave a different experience (not just combat-wise, role-playing-wise), then I'd give that game the bigger cookie for character customization than to BG.

Also, are inventory avatars important? They were fun in some games, but a minimalistic approach, or even their absence, doesn't really bother me. Fallout's way of using the ingame avatar for Dolly Dress Up purposes was fine with me
Yup, like I just mentioned, if I look like a drow, I expect people to treat me like a drow. Thus, don't make a thousand skin colours... make two instead, and make sure they are both significant. Please excuse my constant leaning towards D&D and its stuff, I jsut can't think of any exapmles from other rulesets and games at the moment.

Second, what system do you feel allowed for better character creation? SPECIAL? Elder Scrolls? AD&D or D&D? Steam? Wizardry (which was somewhat based off AD&D 1st Edition, anyway)? Geneforge/Avernum? Other?

SPECIAL, most definitely, out of hte above that I've played. Like I said, I want a few options that are all significant, rather than a thousand that aren't. SPECIAL, on the other hand, offers both a lot of choices and a lot are significant. Steam is similar to SPECIAL in many ways, but it's unbalanced :( Elder Scrolls is too easily abused and Morrowind's is dumbed down, I agree. Though I found Daggerfall's interesting, for some reason less abusive than Morrowind. And I lvoed the option of playing a monster linguist :) Never played Wizardry, Geneforge, or Avernum, so can't comment on those.

Third, what kind of system do you prefer for character creation? The standard one of just giving a screen with adjustable elements and be done with it, or do you like more gameplay-oriented systems, like Morrowind's initial opening scene (a prisoner giving his vital information to guards), or even System Shock 2's system (choosing a one year 'career' which determined your initial aptitudes, though you never saw your training, unfortunately)? Feel free to mention other system, as before.

Just a screen with a abunch of statistics please. I find it illogical to have to tell a bunch of guards what my class is for some survey purpose. Also, I liked Elder Scroll's option of having to answer questions and the game picking a class for you... its interesting, though the result may not always be to one's liking. Finally, PS:T's system was nice where you start out as one class and can then find trainers to switch you to another.
 

Human Shield

Augur
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Sep 7, 2003
Messages
2,027
Location
VA, USA
I don't like characters to start off as demonically cursed at a skill (opps, trying to open this lock has caused the lock to jam, rust shut, and weld the door closed, pleased don't reload a saved game) and end as godlike (This door was created by an ancient race of beings made of pure energy... oh critical success).
 

Diogo Ribeiro

Erudite
Joined
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Messages
5,706
Location
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Megatron said:
I'd like to play through the giving information bit if there was more options. Mabye being able too fill in the form yourself

Good point, yes. Noted :)

remaining silent throughout

Well, interactivity is fine and all, but what would be the purpose of that here? You're creating your character. Storywise, its easy for me to have one of the people in the room get guards to subdue you, and have a truth serum injected into you. The penalty could even be a random creation of your character (hey, good point :)).

But technically it isn't necessary for the game.

or stripping down and taking a shit on the desk.

........ No comment :shock:

It's elements like these I'd have liked too have seen in Morrowind. Why couldn't me and that other dude over-power the guard, fight our way through the ship then him lead me too some pirate hide-out or something. I'd have preferred that too talking too some old guy about my star sign.

I understand your point, but the thing is these kinds of compromises usually have to be made. Sure, you could subdue guards - if there weren't many. You could gather more prisoners and take the ship - but would the character know how to pilot it? Would any other prisoner? If you did, where would you take it? Or if another prisoner did, where would he take it? And would you accept that i was determining your character's skills for you? Would you like it that, not only have i provided a convenient reason for you to escape prison, i also conveniently made it so your character knows how to operate the ship?

The problem is if you're going to add too much options into the game, then you'll get to a point where you're drowining in them.

Also, if you take into account that theory into Morrowind, what are your odds of surviving? You are a level 1 character, with low skills and stats. You're also a prisoner trying to escape - by the game's rules, how long do you think it would take for the guards to gang up on you? Not only that, how many hits do you believe it would take to kill you?

At best, you could tell me you prefer a more traditional way of character creation, which i'd understand, given that it usually does not create the same problem as the kind of presentation i'm giving.

I usually find those kind of things boring as they're so restrictive, or you don't know what you're choosing so have too go through it all again if you fuck up.

Well my intention was to be as simple and direct as possible really, so as to avoid having people not understand what the process, or parts of it, entailed. I wouldn't use moron indicators, but i'd make sure things were labelled properly. A shorter version of ToEE's hyperlink system for help with ingame things wouldn't be a bad idea.

There should be the option of doing it out of game, though if you wanted to get as immersed into the game as you could and stick with your choices the in-game option is also good.

Yes, doing it all again at a replay might be boring. Perhaps using a question-like system? Such as having the character try and get away from the ship and present him with choices like:

"A) You manage to throw yourself into the ground, and slide underneath a falling piece of the ceiling. When you get up, you dust yourself and look around.

1) To your left is a narrow path with a locked door cutting the path in two, and a bleeding man, sitting on the cold floor, trying to cover his wound with his right hand, while holding some sort of lock picks in his left. He calls out to you.

2) To your right is a large hallway, filled with crates. Trying to use them as cover, a group of guards and escapees trade shots at each other. One of the escapees is hit and falls down, and his comrade looks at you and asks for your help, pointing at the corpses' weapon.

3) Ahead of you is a long hallway, with some crates. You notice there is a guard wearing a sabre, fighting two escapees. One of them is killed by the guard, desperately clutching his chest where the guards' blade struck. He falls dead on his back, still holding the saber. The second escapee asks for your help, telling you to pick up the sword.

4) You manage to see a small corridor a bit to the side, which is empty. It might be the best choice to avoid the surrounding chaos."

The situation you described also sounds a bit like the Judge Dredd movie or something? I like prison stuff though, it seems like a cliche though you rarely see it mebbe.

Quite honestly, i don't remember squat about the movie, other than it stars Stallone and that it's about, well, Dredd. Oh, and that there's a big robot somwhere?
 

Diogo Ribeiro

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Human Shield said:
Unneeded lockdown for an RPG, this would be fine for a FPS but if you want to make a different character you have to see the same unskipable cutscene. As "guided" you mean all the other doors are blocked and they tell you to go to the medical center. I don't want to wait in line waiting for the same scripts to activate and play through.

Like i pointed out above, there could be a 'Skip Sequence' option for the sequence.

By "guided" i mean exactly that. The purpose of the initial sequence is not to allow the player to have a freeform gameplay right off the bat (specially not inside a prison facility), its just meant to explain the events leading up to the beginning of the story, and allowing the player to have some measure of active hand in the outcome of the character's development (i'm not intending for this part of the story to be shockfull of roleplaying). I could include a premade movie, and have the player as a survivor, in the middle of nowhere, but i don't believe it to be nearly as fun or gripping for players.

That is pretty stupid IMO, watching the same accidents over and over isn't my idea of an immersive RPG world. He should hand it to you and ask you to verify and you fill out everything as if it was always there.

The gimmick of having the current file 'destroyed' is to allow for the player to have the word in the character's creation. Sure, i can tighten the sequence and skip the event with the gender selection. And like Dark Underlord pointed out, i can include an option to give the player a new file for him to fill out, so the repetition of the event is only left out to those that want to see it again.

Also, giving out the file to have the character check it wouldn't make much sense. If the file already has prewritten information, and you end up choosing the absolute reverse of it, how is that explained - that whoever wrote it first was nearsighted? Giving the player a new file to fill out seems to be more accurate (that, or asking questions).

If I wanted to play a convict I would set that as a background and give myself up at the first town. I am tired of this "start out with jack shit because you are a noob LOL", the best way to a start is a random person in a town or city, background is decided by the player with lore skill being the amount he has learned and any skills can be thought of as upbringing from where ever the player wants. At the first introduction you choose to make to someone they can ask you where you are from and what your life was like and that answer becomes truth (including "I don't want to answer").

Well, did you want to play asa Bhaalspawn? As a Vault Dweller? Likely not. You wouldn't play as a convict in this example, you'd play whatever you wished, as soon as the initial sequence was over. Being a convict was just an element that was beyond your reach for story purposes, just as being the sole survivor of the IFS Zephyr. Neither is meant to define your absolute role. There might be associated things with what happened because of your past, but they do not determine the type of character you want to play.

As per what i said, you are already able to choose a sort of background.

Greyhawk said:
How exactly is Fallout an example of staggering lack of customization? Unless you mean customization = hair colour, I don't see how BG's amount of option selection can go beyond that of Fallout.

Lack of customization is the things i was talking of ('extras'), not of skills or anything like that.

However in Fallout, other than name, age, and maybe some other things that I'm forgetting, everything is significant.

Hot damn, forgot age :oops: I knew there was something missing.

On the other hand, BG suffered from a staggering lack of insignificant choices. Classes were rigid and restrictive.

Classes tend to have that problem, because they're mostly about stereotyping a character.

In Fallout, how many builds of fighter can you have? Tons. And each would warrant a different experience. In BG?

Each has their own methods, but i think in the end they somewhat even out, because each has different forms of character development.

Just a screen with a abunch of statistics please. I find it illogical to have to tell a bunch of guards what my class is for some survey purpose.

If this happens within context of the story, i think its valid.

Also, I liked Elder Scroll's option of having to answer questions and the game picking a class for you... its interesting, though the result may not always be to one's liking.

Definetely. I gave up on that because anything i chose seemed to lead me into a Fighter or Thief-type character :?

Finally, PS:T's system was nice where you start out as one class and can then find trainers to switch you to another.

I liked the system, but for starters, it was class-based (booo!). Second, it could pose problems if i was travelling alone. I'd have to resort to unecessary backtracking just to develop into what i wanted.
 

Human Shield

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Role-Player said:
Well, did you want to play asa Bhaalspawn? As a Vault Dweller? Likely not. You wouldn't play as a convict in this example, you'd play whatever you wished, as soon as the initial sequence was over. Being a convict was just an element that was beyond your reach for story purposes, just as being the sole survivor of the IFS Zephyr. Neither is meant to define your absolute role. There might be associated things with what happened because of your past, but they do not determine the type of character you want to play.

As per what i said, you are already able to choose a sort of background.

I wouldn't play as a Bhaalspawn and I don't that much... But the Vault Dweller was an awesome background. And your missing the point, these two backgrounds didn't effect socity to begin with, if I am sent to jail that means socity has deemed me dangerous before I get a chance to say what my character is.

Why was I sent to jail? That leads to certain event that caused me to be sent there, why would I do it? I can think of a reason to travel somewhere in a blimp, but how many "framed innocents" are there?
 

Diogo Ribeiro

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But in this case, society will not have to necessarily know you escaped. The larger part of society doesn't know you're meant to be Nasruudin's incarnation (the Living One), or a Bhaalspawn, or the original Vault Dweller for that matter. No doubt the gameworld will have ways of tracking you down, but initial reports believe there are no survivors, and it'll take a while before they realise someone is missing.

As for the reason to be sent to jail. Long story short, you're not incarcerated for something you did, you're basically doing time for someone else. The penal system of the gameworld has it so the treatment of prisoners isn't very human. If prisoners die before doing doing their time, then the remaining time of the sentence is carried out by someone in their family (who exactly is a decision taken by the courts), even if they did nothing (but if there is a hint at past criminal activity, they have higher chances of being taken). In the case of women, there's an added element. If they are pregnant when taken into custody, and have their children while in prison, the child is taken from them, to be raised as a servant for the kingdom. However, if the circumstance wherein she dies in jail before being able to fulfill her sentence, is met with the possible birth of her child while she is in there, the child is the one who will do the remaining time for her.

That's what you're doing there, basically. Your mother died at birth, and you're out there carrying the remaining sentence. At a later date it would be possible to discover more about this.

EDIT: You might question how this would motivate the players, or in what way is this an interesting background. Well, much like the other backgrounds already discussed here, the place the player in an awkward situation, and its up to the player to decide how to act best. I find it interesting to place gamers in a somewhat hard position, gamewise, and let them sort it out.
 

Megatron

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I think you could make a good rpg set around one location, mabye a prison could be KKEKEKEKE

How about the game and the player both contributing too the character? Nobody decides where or when they're born for instance, but afterward you can more or less do what you want. Perhaps playing as a child as a vignette in a random location with some variables might be a nice way as a tutorial for the game, making up a character from scratch then jumping into the actual game later on, starting at a location decided from your previous decisions.

That idea sounds a little silly. How about the son tries too help her mother escape, she dies in the process and he gets some prison time because of it.

Morrowind sucked a bit anyway, why would they send some lvl 1 guy with nothing too save the kingdom or whatever. Escaping should have been an option, mabye just jumping over the side, handcuffed too your buddy. You probably wouldn't survive long, but it's not that much different from being sent out into the big wide world the other way either. On the Road or something the guy could ask you about your history and generate a character from that mebbe.
 

Diogo Ribeiro

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Megatron said:
I think you could make a good rpg set around one location, mabye a prison could be KKEKEKEKE

::has flashbacks of of a picture of an asian guy hunting racoon for dinner::

That idea sounds a little silly. How about the son tries too help her mother escape, she dies in the process and he gets some prison time because of it.

Let's see. Hmm. That could work, but the prison is fairly tight in terms of security. To have that to work, i could state the prison had lesser levels of security, which in the past allowed for a riot where the main character and his mother, like you say, could try an escape. As a consequence she dies, and he ends up doing overtime for that. Granted.

But i guess my question is, is it really making the story better, or much different? For one, in either way, you'd be doing time in jail. Second, the way you pointed out no doubt fits, but it presumes that the player will tolerate that their character did something in the past to place him in an even tighter spot. You're also setting a precedent for revenge against the system for having killed the character's mother.

Morrowind sucked a bit anyway, why would they send some lvl 1 guy with nothing too save the kingdom or whatever.

This happens a lot in videogames, more times than we'd like to admit :)

Escaping should have been an option, mabye just jumping over the side, handcuffed too your buddy. You probably wouldn't survive long, but it's not that much different from being sent out into the big wide world the other way either. On the Road or something the guy could ask you about your history and generate a character from that mebbe.

I think what i disliked more in Morrowind's initial sequence was that, the inability to move away from the path. No possibility to jump, or even slide away from the plank. The small terrain into the office was also blocked with wood, and a door with a 100% lock rating. It funnels the character too much into that initial thing.

That's a good idea. I believe it would fit in Morrowind, or a game with a similar initial concept. But under the game's specific rules you'd likely have a bounty on your head the minute you did that - also, they imply they have your records, meaning you'd be easier to track down. And chasing you wouldn't be that hard for them.

Now if the initial sequence of Morrowind had it so there were two prisoners being transfered (you and another one, not just you), handcuffed as you said, and if you had the opportunity to attack the guards (for which they had to be seriously toned down in power), and run, its possible it'd work.

EDIT: All in all, i appreciate the input of everyone :) I just find that enough people weren't interested in this topic, unfortunately, judging by the number of replies. Mebbe a Roundtable about Jennifer Connely? :D
 

Megatron

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perhaps we could bitch about morrowind more

though I wouldn't mind some double-dildo action. ASS TO ASS!
 

HanoverF

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MCA Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Codex USB, 2014 Divinity: Original Sin 2
Too much reading :P

Actually I'm tinkering around with a rpg idea for a western (since no one else will do it, I'll make my own :P). Starts with the baby PC winding up on the doorstep of a orphanage (cliche, unlikely, but have to start somewhere), while there may be some hints dropped in the rest of the game if the player chooses to find out about his past, otherwise he can make up for himself how he got there. The idea is mainly to start with a fairly blank slate, rather then stepping into a fully formed character embarking on an adventure.

A doctor performs an examination and begins filling out a form, the player gets to select a name, sex, hair/eye color, race. Then gets to select advantages/disadvantage, things like scrawny, beefy, sickly, dropped on head, etc. Sure in real life small premature babies can grow up to be hulking brutes, but this is just shorthand and the first opportunity to shape the PC.

Flash forward to age 5 the player gets a further chance to shape the PC, playing out somewhat like a combination of Alter ego and an adventure game. The player can do certain things to raise skills/stats, after a certain amount of character definition has taken place, a "life altering" situation occures. How the Player chooses to deal with the situation (including the option not to) further defines the character, and directly affects the next vignette. There are certain minor differences according to race, and limitations or extra options based on advantages/disadvantages, but mostly this one is a fairly static limited scope introduction to serve as a tutorial and introduce the idea that choices and actions have consequences.

Ideally the character never sees a character sheet until after this series of vignettes, no need to explain how the character got there, the player decided it.
 

Diogo Ribeiro

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Thats somewhat similar to Fable's concept. They dropped the continuous development and now the character is developed in chapters. Still, seems interesting enough.
 

Sharpei_Diem

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I think the opening sequence would be fine the first time you ran through it: if you had to do it multiple times(iron man, character rebuild, new game) I think it would get tiresome.

I've always been fond of character creation processes, but one thing I've found with them is they lend themselves to stat-watching as opposed to role playing and take away from the game somewhat. At the very first instant, the player is already having to make guesses about the game. In some cases, like many D&D based systems, they're forced to make decisions that might not even be available in the game (I'm going to specialize in katana, hope there's some in the game...) Personally, I think that kind of thinking is one of the reasons this genre is stagnant.

A solution I'd enjoy: Before the start of the game, have the player select the most critical aspects of their character, but keep the results of their choices vague. Are you Male or Female (ok, that's not so vague ;) ? Pick an attribute that your character is better than average in(str/dex/int etc): pick another (or duplicate) if you want, but at the cost of having to select a negative attribute. At this stage, don't show them numbers...just simple choices. Keep the selections brief. After the final choice, start the game and perhaps allow them to see their stats - but the numbers aren't terribly impressive - maybe 13 for the high and 10 for the rest. From then on, give the character some opportunities to build those stats based on their actions (lots of physical work builds str, lots of manipulating objects builds dex, etc). Combine this with their skills...

I think one of the problems with rpgs is that stats/skills are open-ended. You just keep building them - the higher the better and there's often no real ceiling. Now imagine a system where the sum of all your skills = 100% (never more, never less). These act as modifiers to how well you do things. Let's keep it simple and say there are 4....fighting, thieving, magic and a fourth that represents unused potential. At the start of the game, all characters might have 5%, 5%, 5% and 85% respectively. This might allow characters to do basic things in all areas with a giant untapped area. Now give the player some opportunities to do things: Do they pick up a mallet and attack? Try to manipulate a lock? Try to outwit a sentry? Whatever they do, reward that skill. Don't let them buy...let their actions set the character. If you ever played that 80's game Dungeon Master, you might remember some similarities.

Later down the road the character might be (25%,40%,15%,25%): Indicating a rounded character with thief skills foremost, fighting and finally some magic skills. Here comes a twist though....don't just give them the 25% potential. Maybe if you haven't done enough magic recently, your thief skills come at the expense of your magic, not your potential (25%,45%,10%,25%). Also imagine that your character gains certain abilities at certain %'s (for fighter, stab at 5%, swing at 10%, cleave at 20%, parry at 25%, disarm at 35%), (magic users might get a spell level every 10%). Also certain %'s could allow point buys in certain areas (every 20% of fighter gives a choice of +1 str,dex or cons). And if you want to be really dastardly ;), you can add negative repercussions to excessive specialization (kind of like laws of diminishing returns for characters): for every str point =>17, chr==+1, dex == -2 (your excessive strength creates admiration for your abilities, but is also hampering your speed). I've always felt that there should be a greater interconnection, not only between the stats and skills, but also between the statistics themselves - Charisma in particular should have a co-relation with high/low stats as a particularly strong person (imagine arnold) or smart(einstein) person has an effect on perception.

just some thoughts ;)
 

Megatron

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the problem with that system is that there's usually more killing things than anything else, even in Fallout.


I'd like a game where it doesn't favour a certain character. On some rpgs I usually have too guess what happens then shape my player around it, instead of making a player and shaping what happens around him. Or her.

Dig?
 

Diogo Ribeiro

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Having players make choices but leave the results vague... i don't know. This might lead players to miss the point of character creation; when they notice what each choice does, than the vagueness is gone, eventually.

Incidentally, one could just allow for the player to create a character, and automatically set all attributes to a basic level, followed by segments allowing the player to increase them. I think its more rewarding for players to actively arrange a way to improve their character's initial stats than to select a few, than train in others.

I'd have to agree that usually skill-based systems don't have a ceiling, and just grow and grow into levels that are way more than enough (wasn't SPECIAL's limit 300%, although you were excellent at 100%? :shock: ). Perhaps reaching half of that would suffice. Or just creating a smaller scale.

That ability per skill level is interesting. But is it set to appear automatically, or to just give the player the option to choose it? If its just giving the player the option to choose it, then its a bit like Perks, determined by stat and skill level. Appearing automatically isn't bad in itself, but this creates the risk of giving abilities that the character might not use.

Though the interchangement of attributes is good :)
 

Sharpei_Diem

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The end effect I was reaching for in character creation is to make it as minimalist as possible: getting the player into the game as quickly as possible. I'd rather have a system where you start with an average joe of all 10's, and through travels and experiences raise those abilities in relation to how the player uses them. Character creation has become such a big event in some games(Toee) that in some ways it surpasses the actual game: i don't think that's right.

There are a few important things my idea accomplishes: 1) prevents unbalanced characters: this is one problem with random rolls and point buys - you can create a character that can waltz through the first scenes of the game because of their +4 str bonus; 2) Allows the developer to balance the beginning to mid game without punishing the player: for example, you don't have to worry about creating a survivable opening scenario for all permutations of charracters (including classes, weapons of choice etc etc etc) or you don't have to worry that a character has put all their points into a high energy weapon when you don't plan on making one available till the fourth scene; 3) quickly allows new and experienced players into the game with minor customizations they can understand - i'm comfortable with Ad&d (though not the newest versions), but toee's character creation left me shaking my head - "what the hell does this feat do? Am i going to be able to use that?" Even after reading the descriptions I often had no idea whether a particular feat or skill was used/unused/necessary/important in the game.

The reason for the vagueness isn't really to fool/hide things from the player, but merely to get them into the game quickly and not to put the distraction of a number in front of them. People see a number, and they don't know how to relate to it." Is there a better number? is this the best number? Should i try for a higher number?" It distracts from the purpose of the game: the game isn't about stat-watching, it's about playing....

I like the idea of the skills appearing automatically at certain thresholds. Again I use Dungeon Master as a reference: my fighter just gained expert status and now has a new type of attack (cleave) and an older, inferior method of attack has been removed from the player menu. Though having the player make a choice would be pretty cool too (you have reached 35% fighter skills: you can choose a new skiil, cleave or disarm). The other beauty of this type of system, is that the player can switch up at any time...so that if during the adventure, they want to start using more magic, they can....and after time, that fighter % might start going down because they're not fighting anymore (and the gain in magic % has to come from somewhere).
 

Dark Elf

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While I hold nothing against the character creation method used in 3.5 D&D, I agree quite a lot with Sharpe_Diem. I like the system used in Arcanum a lot better. It's less static. A character can spry off in a variety of directions throughout the course of the game, never being painted stuck in a corner which I'm afraid happens to be the case of ToEE (at least to some extent). And I'm all in for a set amount of attainable points... ToEE has this little nasty habit of turning me into a drooling re-roll zombie.

Of course, FF VII is my favorite game of all times and I like that system the best... hell, it doesn't even have a character creation... but perhaps this is the wrong place to mention that. :)
 

Diogo Ribeiro

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Sharpei_Diem said:
There are a few important things my idea accomplishes: 1) prevents unbalanced characters: this is one problem with random rolls and point buys - you can create a character that can waltz through the first scenes of the game because of their +4 str bonus;

Well, i think your idea has merit, specially in comparison to a reroll system, but honestly, i don't think there's much of a problem with a point buy system. Rerolls are very exploitable, but i have the impression that, if kept in check, point buy systems don't allow for much specialization. Arcanum showed this, and Neverwinter Nights, albeit a munchikin fest in itself, did not make it so my character was overly powerful in the beginning.

2) Allows the developer to balance the beginning to mid game without punishing the player: for example, you don't have to worry about creating a survivable opening scenario for all permutations of charracters (including classes, weapons of choice etc etc etc) or you don't have to worry that a character has put all their points into a high energy weapon when you don't plan on making one available till the fourth scene;

Yes this can be a problem. The bad part of the system i pointed out is that its just that, an series of sequences made for character creation, without an actual game afterwards, so balance purposes aren't really being thought of. Nonetheless balance would ultimately be important, so hopefully, worrying about the player choosing a skill which would not see much use would be studied; but i wouldn't want it to reach the point of the BG2 Katana situation, where i'm warned, at character creation, that Katanas are rare, so care should be taken when taking the skill.


As for the rest, agreed :)

Dark Elf said:
Of course, FF VII is my favorite game of all times and I like that system the best... hell, it doesn't even have a character creation... but perhaps this is the wrong place to mention that. :)

I much prefer FF VIII's system. Much more customizable and tweakable. FF VII's felt too static and simplistic, often dependant of materia sloting.
 

Anonymous

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Avoid Final Fantasy like the plague when doing designs, please.
 

kris

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An old topic well worth revisting. If only because I love making characters in games, more so when there are more options. I'll give my views based on my years of PnP gaming (mostly Rolemaster, but several others too) and cprg games. First quoting ;)

Transcendent One said:
1. My point is that I don't care for tons of options if 90% of them don't do shit. Even if there were only three classes in some game a la PS:T, and yet each of them gave a different experience (not just combat-wise, role-playing-wise), then I'd give that game the bigger cookie for character customization than to BG.

2. Also, I liked Elder Scroll's option of having to answer questions and the game picking a class for you... its interesting, though the result may not always be to one's liking.

1. It is preferable if options have an affect of the game, the most important point though is wether some things are useless or not. Having a ability/skill for the character must be = having instances where you need to use. Otherwise I must disagree if we talk about appearance options. I find it how you customise your look/avatar to be a important part in putting in his personality and persona. Regardless of me making a old "favourite" character or a completly new one. Of course even more important in MMORPGs (WoW I cry for thee).

2. I agree, this is engaging. But what I really liked was how I in Daggerfall could further customise my character by answering questions and how a backstory was created. "Did you train archery", "do you hate monks". Even moreso if these answer to the questions could be tied into the game, more on that later.

Role-Player said:
While SPECIAL is one of my favourites, the problem is that i found that at levels 20-23, you usually become overpowered. This was more noticeable in FO2.

This is basically true for almost all games. The combination of skill/equipment often becomes to much and the only way to counter that is with uberenemies with 5 billion hit point or being invulnerable against everything but cryptonite. If you haven't check the Rolemaster rules, while your character becomes considerably better by later levels a lucky Lvl1 character can still kill a lvl 20 one, just like IRL.

Human Shield said:
1. I like customizing options but I like to see them matter. Why can't strength adjust the size of my character or face selection result in charisma or intimidation adjustments. I can make an ugly freak that charms everyone and they say out good they look. I usually like protraits, my Wizardary 8 party if half custom portraits but general fantasy ones are much easier to find then a unique sci-fi setting.

2. If I wanted to play a convict I would set that as a background and give myself up at the first town.

3. At the first introduction you choose to make to someone they can ask you where you are from and what your life was like and that answer becomes truth (including "I don't want to answer").

1. IMO, you turned things backwards. you should choose a face/avatar that fits your character, not make your avatar choice change the character. Basically if you can choose a big muscled avatar don't do that if you have 6/18 strenght. ;)

2. Things like being a convict is great if it affects gameplay in a larger scope. Like most other things, best if only as a option.

3. Again Daggerfall, altough simplistic it was nice to choose where you where born altough likely didn't affect gameplay. But I will mention more about Dragon age and it's possibilities below.

Human Shield said:
I don't like characters to start off as demonically cursed at a skill (opps, trying to open this lock has caused the lock to jam, rust shut, and weld the door closed, pleased don't reload a saved game) and end as godlike (This door was created by an ancient race of beings made of pure energy... oh critical success).

What you mention is what would be poor gamedesign or in a PnP a poor gamemaster. Things should preferably be scaled to the character(s), be it easy/medium/hard for them. the inherent problem of MMORPG to boot. Also of course the problem of godlike character development (read console RPGs). :D

HanoverF said:
Flash forward to age 5 the player gets a further chance to shape the PC, playing out somewhat like a combination of Alter ego and an adventure game. The player can do certain things to raise skills/stats, after a certain amount of character definition has taken place, a "life altering" situation occures. How the Player chooses to deal with the situation (including the option not to) further defines the character, and directly affects the next vignette.

This is IMO a very interesting concept and a very interesting game on it's own (yes I like alter ego). Again it would tie up with the ideas of Dragon age and background. what to play, how to play and most important. How will it affect the later (real?) game?

Sharpei_Diem said:
I think one of the problems with rpgs is that stats/skills are open-ended. You just keep building them - the higher the better and there's often no real ceiling.

Now I must pimp Rolemaster again. There the return for increasing a skill diminishes as you get better to the point where it is hardly worth it to increase more. This takes away "godmode" and while a powerful character is still powerful a lvl 20 will most likely be beaten by 3 lvl 10, unlike pretty much every other RPG I ever played (especially the computerised/consolised). Another important Rolemaster thing is that when you fight several opponents you can't use your full defense against everyone.

Role-Player said:
Incidentally, one could just allow for the player to create a character, and automatically set all attributes to a basic level, followed by segments allowing the player to increase them. I think its more rewarding for players to actively arrange a way to improve their character's initial stats than to select a few, than train in others.
Sharpei_Diem said:
The end effect I was reaching for in character creation is to make it as minimalist as possible: getting the player into the game as quickly as possible. I'd rather have a system where you start with an average joe of all 10's, and through travels and experiences raise those abilities in relation to how the player uses them. Character creation has become such a big event in some games(Toee) that in some ways it surpasses the actual game: i don't think that's right.

Having to start with a "average Joe of all 10s" would basically mean you must be child/teen or such. If anything we could take age into consideration in how developed the skills can be for the character and how ability scores are affected. Examples could be the Fatal system that someone here linked too. Or the old game (Dark fall I think) where you could choose "training packages" that made you more skilled but older. Rolemaster with it's shitload of rules also have both those options in it. Let me add that I sincererly disagree with Sharpei_Diem about having a minimalistic character creation system. The more options the better, preferably with all affecting the game of course.

Dragon age. I am sure you all heard about it, how your background will affect the game. from all I heard especially the early part will be affected. This is a option I LOVE. Of course I will only love it if they make it good and engaging. This is also one of those things that you can really use in PnP games to make it more enganing, Background options that create roleplaying possibilities. Be it talents and disadvantages (Rolemaster have a whole separate book about it). It can be a cityguard captain as friend (often vowed into computer games story that you can't affect), family (numerous of opportunities and I would love to have that as an dynamic option in games, read this Dargaon age developer! :D) a demon bond to your soul and so on. Problem with most computer games is that they use one or two options like this (Imoen halfsister, spirit of Lionheart etc) and you have no choice whatsoever.

In this respect there is so many possibilities it is staggering and so far games have hardly touched it. Except possibly your choice of gender. ;) Fallout did some nice things with perks that really affected the world and how it reacted to you, those guys really had a talent for that ;)
 

DarkUnderlord

Professional Throne Sitter
Staff Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2002
Messages
27,158
You had to dig it up a year to the day, didn't you? Damn I hate that. Digging is fine but when the days of the months are just about on the money, it takes a while to notice the year.

I would comment on the thread but I've just done a huge-arse reply to the new RP round table that pretty much conflicts with what's seen in here to some extent.
 

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