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Thieves, don't let them get away with it

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Sheriff_Fatman, Nov 1, 2002.

  1. thathmew Zero Sum Software Developer

    thathmew
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    Crashing is definitely problem (ah I know it too well), but you could get around it by have very frequent auto-saves or some sort possibly, but then people might try and get around it by intentionally crashing the game so they could re-load where they wanted to. But even with crashing if the worst is having to replay from the last time they exitted the game properly it wouldn't be too bad. Not ideal agreed.

    I think it's partially a problem of the randomness of the crpg, a hold-over from rolling dice. But saving and loading can be used to effectively eliminate randomness. Therefore why should the attempts be randomized? Either you can pickpocket someone based on a situation or you can't and reloading ain't gonna make it any easier. On the other hand, there is something just plain fun about knowing you aren't likely to succeed but there is that 1 in-a 100 shot.

    This speaks to the bane of all aspects CRPG's which is simply unscripted intelligent NPC behavior. Individuals should indeed react differently. I love the image of some nerdy scholar catching you pickpocketting him and then big warrior of the party facing him down with a "whatt'er you gonna do about it? huh?" And he does nothing except "eep" or even waits and then goes and reports you to the guards. <sigh> Someday maybe we'll have a game which models personality attributes and reactions for npc's well. Someday.

    -m




    [/quote]
     
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  2. Spazmo Erudite

    Spazmo
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    Well, now, Saint, pickpocketing some guy isn't the same as robbing a bank. You just "accidentally" bump into someone and grab his wallet/pouch.
     
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  3. Section8 Erudite

    Section8
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    This is abou the one thing I think MMORPGs have over real games. The fact that their character is regularly saved, but that the players themselves don't have access to those save files. However such systems really need to make player death something that is punished, but not excessively, which can't be justified in certain game worlds.

    However, even though it is an effective method, I don't think putting the saves out of the players' hands is the right way to go. If the player is saving regularly to perform skill checks and loading them if they fail then there's a couple of things going wrong.

    Firstly, there's too much random variance. It's not really fun to fail due to chance, but more on that a little later. Secondly, the consequences of failing are too severe. If I get caught stealing it shouldn't be game over because an entire town is now hostile toward me.

    To use a non-RPG example, Hitman handles this sort of thing pretty well. If a civilian spots you doing something you shouldn't be doing, they will run and tell somebody. If you kill the screaming civilian, the guards are none the wiser. If you let them alert the guards, then you have to be stealthier, but it's not the end of the world. Additionally, it doesn't suffer from the instant recognition flaw that many games seem to have.

    If I get spotted doing something illegal, the guards will have a basic description of my appearance to work with. If I change my outfit, then what do they know?

    This is one thing RPGs would benefit from greatly. A system with roots in chaos theory, where a small action can cause gameplay permutations, completely altering the dynamic. Provided the rules are solid and plausible within the game world, then you can allow the player to basically fuck up, and it will change things, but it's not necessarily a failure, it just didn't go to plan.

    I've only gotten into Pen and Paper RPing fairly recently, but I'm fascinated by the gaping differences between how people react to bad rolls. In PnP, bad rolls tend to be laughed off; you've got a bunch of other people to cover for your mistake, and there's something in the manual rolling of a die that makes it feel like it's the luck of the dice.

    Compare that to CRPGs, and it's a different story altogether. Because the rolls are happening in the form of abstracting a random variable from a seed, it's less tangible for the player, and it's a lot easier to feel resentful of bad rolls, especially when there are plenty of games out there that do actually cheat the player. I think also because the roll isn't initiated by the player, it's like watching somebody else roll for you and fail. Even though you cannot control a die roll in any way whatsoever, there is some kind of quaint belief just below the surface of the mind that you can. That is coupled with a responsibility of sorts. You rolled the dice, there's nobody to blame but you.

    The best approach I have seen to this age old problem is seen in System Shock 2. The first element in the SS2 system is resource use. Resources are fairly easy to control, and provided they aren't too rare, then the player generally wont mind if they have to "waste" a few on the way to a success. As the character becomes more skilled, the resource use is decreased.

    The second element is the concept of multiple rolls. Rather than having a single roll govern the success of an outcome, the player has multiple chances, and this ties in with the third major element, and that is safe vs critical attempts. Rather than having critical failure as an extension and further random factor, the player can actively choose to take a risk. The number of nodes that can result in critical failure is increased by a lack of skill, which enforces two things - a higher resource use for safe play, and a considerably higher chance of failure for the risk taker. Both are incentives to improve the skill.

    So basically what this system boils down to, is playing the percentages. Rather than the random occurance meaning the difference between saving and loading the game, it actually becomes incorporated into the game play. "My last attempt at 50% chance to succeed failed. The next one should be successful." But the most important thing about this system, is that if you fail, it costs resources. If you critically fail, it's because you chose to take that risk. It puts the responsibility back on the player, much like the dice roll rant above.

    There are a few simple things that can greatly improve this. Non-Lethal attacks for one, and a less binary recognition/suspicion system. The guy who saw you digging in his pockets is goin to recognise you on sight, but the guards he may have reported it to and his fellow citizens should really be looking for somebody like you, and not know you specifically.
     
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  4. KeighnMcDeath RPG Codex Boomer

    KeighnMcDeath
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    oh this is old. Vintage.
    :necro::necro::necro::necro::necro:
    I still love thieves in games. Stealing, robbing, home and shop invasions. Taking inventory from stores or pockets. Disarming traps and locks. Stealthing everywhere like a ninja. Good times.

    I am surprised there are 19+ y/o threads.
     
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  5. Parsimonious cook Prophet Patron

    Parsimonious cook
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    Strap Yourselves In
    Damn bro, this is surely one of the most extreme acts of necromancy I have seen in the last two decades. Are you Hand of Nagash or something?

    Also thieves are a cool class that shine the most in more "social" oriented adventures, rather than in pure dungeon crawls. If you dont like thieves, you are quite likely a filthy combat fag.
     
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  6. Dorateen Arcane

    Dorateen
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    The dungeon crawls I play, thieves/robbers were essential for disarming traps and opening chests. And they often have unique abilities that could allow them to land spectacular attacks when developed. The classic thief certainly has a place in any worthy dungeon exploration.
     
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  7. Blackshirt Augur

    Blackshirt
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    The suffering of a world before New Vegas.

    Trippy tbh. Like speaking to a ghost. Just think back to 2002 and how different shit was back then. Codexians weren't based and redpilled either.
     
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  8. PapaPetro Omniscient Patron

    PapaPetro
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    Burglary and fast talking.
    Bilbo comes to mind...
     
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  9. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
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    Every CRPG should have backstabbing as an alternative to brains and brawn.
     
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  10. Gregz Arcane

    Gregz
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    Thief is still the best stealth game
     
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  11. Nano Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    Nano
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    I like playing thieves in settings where magic is genetic. If magic can be used by anyone, I don't like playing characters who are too dumb to learn it.
     
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  12. PapaPetro Omniscient Patron

    PapaPetro
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    Do pirates count as thieves or is that a different ontological category?
    :hypeship:
     
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  13. Generic-Giant-Spider Unwanted

    Unwanted
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    Thief is the best class ever.
     
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  14. KeighnMcDeath RPG Codex Boomer

    KeighnMcDeath
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    Most definitely count.
     
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  15. Blackshirt Augur

    Blackshirt
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    Pirates are just sailing bandits, they're not really the sneaky stealthy type. But I suppose if your definition of thief is simply "object stealer" then yeah pirates are thieves.
     
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  16. PapaPetro Omniscient Patron

    PapaPetro
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    They have to be sneaky else they'd be spotted on the high seas.
    Think of it as them rolling a stealth check on the whole ship with the sea as their favorite terrain.
     
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  17. PapaPetro Omniscient Patron

    PapaPetro
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    D&D Immortals - Thought - Thieves.png
     
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  18. Blackshirt Augur

    Blackshirt
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    Oh no, that's not how pirates worked at all. Pirate tactics revolved around intimidating the mark and scaring them into giving up without a fight, not sneaking up on them (somehow, on THE HIGH FUCKING SEAS IN A BOAT) and sneak attacking everyone on board. If anything, pirates are CHA based thugs, not DEX based rogues.
     
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  19. Shin Arbiter

    Shin
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  20. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Ah, the innocence of 2002 when "diversity" still meant a variety of different gameplay options!

    I want to go back :negative:
     
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  21. PapaPetro Omniscient Patron

    PapaPetro
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    That is so full of 90s campiness it's a treasure :lol:
     
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  22. mondblut Arcane

    mondblut
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    The best thief is a wizard with invisibility, silence, knock, flight and hold person. Change my mind.
     
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  23. PapaPetro Omniscient Patron

    PapaPetro
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    Polymorph into a small earth elemental and Earth Glide within the ground like having Etherealness; perceive with Tremorsense.
    Obviously skullduggery is beneath a wizard, so polymorph the actual thief so he'll be a small earth elemental with those cool thieving skills.
     
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  24. Blutwurstritter Educated

    Blutwurstritter
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    The only games with good thief game play are literally the Thief games. In crpgs thieves suck. Gimped fighters that exist to disarm traps and open locks. The hole backstab fight mechanics is contrived. Its just flanking with a different name. Mostly, gameplay isn't fleshed out to accommodate stealth so the rogue always fall short. And as mentioned before, why use a rogue when a wizzard can do the same ? Party based games simply aren't suited for them and developers won't make the effort to add mechanics to make one class more interesting. The Thief games are some of my all-time favorites but I know no crpgs where rogues add much to the game. And don't get me wrong, I like the class in principle but the implementations in cprgs have all been underwhelming.
     
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  25. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    That's why stealth was kinda decent in Underrail: it uses a light and shadow mechanism inspired by Thief for stealth checks.
     
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