Of Choice and Consequences: Overland Satyr Encounter

Discussion in 'Wishlist Requests' started by Anpu, Jun 19, 2021.

  1. Anpu

    Anpu Bug Hunter

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    Something we have very little of is any actual or meaningful Choice and Consequences in the game. I was thinking of at least something a player could do that would at least contain some elements of choice and consequences, and related to the setting and lore of the game.
    This is also a sort of prototype system you could use and incorporate into other areas of the game as well. It also could work with your new Reputation System possibly. This could then be something worth perusing that does add value and content to the game.

    Overland Satyr Encounter
    On the overland there would be a new creature players could find on the overland map, a Satyr encounter.
    On entering the encounter, the player is presented with a quick description "You happen upon an intense confrontation of a group of Satyrs and Fauns".
    *[1]A group of various Satyrs named Sandmen Satyr and then a group of Fauns named Runner Fauns would be in the scene.
    Satyr Sandmen are a group of Satyrs that are specifically hunting down and killing any Fauns that have learned to beak the Satyr control on them. The Runner Fauns are a group of Fauns that have learned to break the Satyr control on them and are teaching the teachings of Perri the Unchained to other Fauns.
    A dialogue window will open and have some dialogue from the Satyrs like "Ho Ha! Puny human. This is no concern of yours! Leave us be."
    A dialogue from the Fauns would come up like "Please help us human! These cruel Satyrs only want to hunt us down and kill us!".
    And then 3 dialogue choices: Assist the Satyrs. Assist the Fauns. Leave.
    Selecting to assist a faction, will then set the other faction hostile (you have this functionality already in Crooked Shank, in that you can set a faction to be hostile to a player. I don't know the limitations of that however). Or if the player selects Leave they then are teleported to the Overland Map.

    After killing the faction that was set to hostile, A message will be displayed overhead like "You helped the cruel Sandmen Satyrs slaughter the Runner Fauns" or "You helped the Runner Fauns from being slaughtered by the cruel Sandmen Satyrs".
    The player then will get a point of reputation for the faction they decided to assist. Assisting the Satyrs would give the player 1 point in Sandman Satyr Reputation, and -1 point in Runner Faun Reputation. Assisting the Fauns would give the player -1 point in Sandman Satyr Reputation, and 1 point in Runner Faun Reputation.
    This Reputation point can only be raised one point a day (like the daily oracle test). The player can continue to do these scenes over and over, but no additional Reputation points will be adjusted, until the daily quest reset timer is set.

    The faction the player helped to assist would then thank the player and give a small gold and XP reward. This small gold and XP reward could be repeatable, but the player can however only get one reputation point a day.

    Reputation
    After the players has gained around 100 reputation points, the player has now made a clear choice they really do want to help the Satyrs or the Fauns.
    On entering the Overland Scene, both the Sandmen Satyrs and Runner Fauns now recognize the player.
    A dialogue window would open and some dialogue from the Satyrs and Fauns dependent on the Reputation the player has with each faction will be shown:

    100 Satyr Sandmen Reputation a Satyr dialogue like "Ho ha! The ally of the Satyrs is here! Let us revel in slaughtering these troublesome Fauns!". Dialogue from the Fauns would be like "The murderer of Fauns is here! We will fight you to the death! So be it!".
    And then an option to assist the Satyrs or Leave.

    100 Faun Runner Reputation a Satyr dialogue like "You! We will crush your puny head to a pulp human!". Dialogue from the Fauns would be like "The friend of the Fauns is here! Help us CHARNAME!".
    And then an option to assist the Fauns or Leave.

    The player then can continue to raise 1 point in this one Reputation once a day.

    Conclusion and Consequences
    After the player has attained 200 points in a factions Reputation, after killing the hostile creatures, and then speaking to the faction they are assisting, the player would be thanked by that faction and then different rewards would be given to the player:

    200 Satyr Sandmen Reputation: The player receives the title "The Cruel Ally of the Satyrs" and would also receive a Cruelly Enslaved Faun decoration pet. This decoration pet cannot be renamed and is account bound. This could also possibly be a Tamed Creature that could be used in combat as well.

    200 Faun Runner Reputation: The player receives the title "The Ally of the Unchained Fauns". They would also receive a quest item "The Hymn of Perri the Unchained" and is account bound.

    (optional) All of the non quest related Fauns in the game will either thank the player for being a friend to the Fauns or will no longer say anything to the player who assisted the Satyrs. A small change to Perri's dialogue could also be made depending on the players faction rating. Or a bark dialogue variant that uses this Reputation variable could be seen by the player. (This might require too much work however, to edit all that and is just an optional suggestion).

    (optional) The "The Hymn of Perri the Unchained" could be a usable item that could be used once a day(?) and lasts for like 15 minutes. This would put a music like aura around the player, and in a scene where there are Satyrs and Fauns, Fauns within this area of effect would get an effect placed on them that makes them stop attacking the player and move far away from the player. (This might be way too complicated to code, and is just a suggestion).

    Such a system would at least give the player some kind of accomplishment and the feeling they did make a choice that they are now stuck with (but is not debilitating to the player). Other variants of this system could be used in quests in scenes or in other overland encounters.

    And I'd like this to always be tied to the lore within the current game as well.

    Just an idea and suggestion and perhaps maybe some or all of this might spark some idea with the Dev Team. I just had this idea the other day and just wanted to share.

    Thanks!

    *[1]Or name them whatever. This is obviously a Logan's Run reference.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2021
  2. Bowen Bloodgood

    Bowen Bloodgood Avatar

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    First, kudos and applause for a well thought out and explained idea. I will now show amazing restraint (*deletes the first sentence I started on*) and NOT go off on the rant I'd like to do on the subject of consequences in an online game as I don't want to derail an otherwise fine idea. :) (and yet was still compelled to elude to unspoken rant.. )

    If you're going to have a mechanic to drain your reputation over time allowing people to switch then I think that pretty much kills the notion of there being consequences and if there are rewards then players will simply choose the actions that will produce the reward they want. Rather, the choice should be based solely on the type of character the player wants to play (all of which seems contrary to Richard's take that players should play as themselves but what the hell, I never liked that idea to begin with. :) )

    I would like to see something that doesn't encourage players to game the system. Now if you make a mistake, you should be able to correct the mistake. ie unintentionally selecting the wrong option. So in the example above if you select help the Satyrs by mistake.. just kill them instead. Your reputation should be affected by the final outcome rather than dialogue.
     
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  3. Bowen Bloodgood

    Bowen Bloodgood Avatar

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    True to a point, but people have long memories and aren't as forgiving as they should be. If you know that someone has killed in cold blood or otherwise has been a hardened criminal it's a very long and hard road for them to overcome that. It will never happen without a great deal of effort and it's something they live with for the rest of their lives. Changing that kind of reputation usually means going to were people don't know about it. There is effectively a point of no return. Unless of course you control the media, but then you can't fool all the people all the time. :)

    Sort of? I hated the virtue the questions. Why can't I just give the beggar MY own money and be honest/honorable and compassionate at the same time?????

    Unfortunately, 'perspective' does not define reality.. as much as some people want to think it does. Not being able to see the right answer doesn't mean it doesn't exist. We're humans, we screw up and want to say 'it's all good', especially when it's not. In either case, the only way to have true consequences is for you to have to live with it or there's not much point.
     
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  4. Bowen Bloodgood

    Bowen Bloodgood Avatar

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    There is a huge distinction that needs to be pointed out here. The reputation of the individual vs the reputation of a group are two very different things. I could argue that soldiers in most countries are viewed favorably because they are held to a code of conduct and put their lives on the line for the values upheld by their country. Not necessarily for the actions of the individual. The individual might be treated differently if it were known for example that they had be dishonorably discharged over a serious matter. We aren't really talking about Faction Reputation here so the comparison doesn't really apply.

    Give a man a fish, or teach him to fish. Though I think that argument is going a bit far. I try to limit the assumptions within the questions to myself and no need to over complicate. In terms of that particular question, give part of the uncounted sum to the beggar or not my answer is very simple. The money isn't mine to give. Everything beyond that is just rationalizing. If I have my own money I can consider the beggar's situation but that is not part of the question. :)

    Reputation emerges by what people think they know and it's far easier to get a bad one through a few actions while a good reputation requires consistent behavior over time. It's not that everyone forgets anything, rather some actions 'weigh' more than others (varying by personal perspective). Switching gears a bit by changing the language to something a little more universal. Favorable vs Unfavorable by faction. ie helping the fauns is favorable to the fauns whether it's ultimately the 'right' choice or not.. and unfavorable to the satyrs. In this case, only the fauns and satyrs would know about it. Most humans would not unless some were actually there, unless there is a compelling reason one side or the other would go around telling humans about it.

    I haven't read anything about this reputation system but since it's designed for an online game I'm not getting my hopes up.
     
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  5. Sannio

    Sannio Lead Quest and Level Designer Moderator SOTA Developer

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    Neat idea! Offering some kind of story within random encounters is something we've thought about but avoided because they're a bit unpredictable. The compromise was when an NPC shows up after "boss wave" and gives you something like a bounty slip to bring to an NPC outside the encounter. But lemme go through the whole idea and make some comments.

    So far, the things you described are do-able for sure.

    We don't have a system that will essentially flip factions to easily toggle you between friendly and hostile. We fake it in two ways.
    1. We have a special faction called "Red Sash" (because it started with those Hidden Vale NPCs) that is neutral (which our game defines as "attack only if attacked") by default. However, if you engage one red sash NPC in combat, all nearby red sash NPCs will sense this and join in. If you go far away or change scenes, the threat is flushed and the next time you meet them they'll be neutral again.
    2. We can insert an "attack" action into a conversation response for any NPC. This allows us to have a situation where you could select a conversation choice where you insult an NPC and that NPC attacks you in response. This attack puts that single NPC into combat with you, but if you leave the area and come back they'll be back to their normal friendly or neutral state.
    The townsfolk in Crooked Shank use both of the above. All the townsfolk use the red sash faction. Also, if you kill any of the townsfolk in Crooked Shank, or make the mayor sufficiently angry, you get a special "attack during conversation" flag which will force combat if you talk to any of them--and that could trigger the red sash "everyone get the player!" multi-NPC combat.

    Do you have to kill them? You're the avatar! Isn't there some other ethics-based choice? ;)

    This part is also do-able. In Mistrendur scenes, I use a special flag that I call "Renown" that accrues points, and then NPCs can give different responses depending on your points.

    Something like the above is also do-able. As I mentioned above, I can have different responses depending on your Renown score.

    Potentially this is fine, but adding in multiple responses based on different Renown levels could bloat up conversations pretty fast and make the "if/then" logic a little tricky in our toolset.

    Satyrs and fauns weren't created to accommodate a Renown check, so I'd have to retroactively apply this by editing all Faun conversations. Depending on how their conversations are set up, it could be a bit of trouble. The helpful part about Mistrendur NPCs is that I know beforehand that they will have the Renown gimmick and I plan for it.

    I don't know how complicated this would be, but I think for an item to have an effect it would have to be equipped somehow. I don't know how complicated it is to make a new equippable with effects.

    I see these elements are the core of your suggestion:
    • The player is encouraged to make a story-based ethical choice within a random encounter.
    • Repeated involvement changes how the encounter NPCs react to the player.
    • Passing a certain repetition threshold allows the player to claim rewards from the NPCs which they side with.
    I like the general idea. I don't know if I'd make this specific scenario, but the overall ideas are ones that I'll try to keep in mind if I make new encounters that don't follow the patterns of the current ones. Thanks for sharing!
     
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  6. Sannio

    Sannio Lead Quest and Level Designer Moderator SOTA Developer

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    We don't have a system that can automatically "decay" a Renown score. The closest we could do for that would be reducing a Renown flag's value during a conversation with an NPC. It could get two-levels of complicated by having you lose 1 point by talking to any related NPC but use a daily flag to limit it to no more than 1 each day.
     
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  7. Bowen Bloodgood

    Bowen Bloodgood Avatar

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    Indeed. In many cases, discussions of new ideas are very much a "what might have been" thing. Either the existing systems can't handle a new idea very well or the devs simply don't have resources in many cases. Alternatively, an idea is simple out of scope. If it passes all those tests, do the devs like it enough? The challenges go on and on. Good ideas are always an interesting discussion to flex the old brain muscles though. Admittedly it's more fun at the start of development when it's more realistic to have high hopes. :)

    If *I* were doing it... muahahahahahaaa... sadly I'm not and most of my ideas are too expensive for a small team / small budget to implement. But there would be some core behind the scene changes that would make stuff like reputation and wide spread dialogue changes easier. Then again, we wouldn't even have a "player based" economy and.... and... no I'm not going off on that rant.... In either case, everyone has something they'd do differently and as much as it eats at the core of my very being how things were done the devs have done a great job with that they have. Now if only..... :)
     
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  8. Anpu

    Anpu Bug Hunter

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    Thank you very much for the detailed feedback! Sometimes I have some ideas based on what I can observe various quest and faction systems do but I don't know the full limits of them. Thanks for explaining that in more detail! I do wish we did have a more fleshed out Faction system, but that may come in time.

    This pretty much summarizes my idea. I DO like giving a player a story-based ethical choice, and then perhaps some long lasting or even in game refection of that choice the player made. Nothing *too* debilitation, but at least some reflection of that choice you made. As for rewards, people do like those titles. I liked the idea of a player receiving a title based off the choice they made ("The Cruel Ally of the Satyrs" or the "The Ally of the Unchained Fauns").

    While I did use the Overland Encounter for this idea, this could also be used within a new/existing Mistrendur scene and could be between different factions (since you now have the new Renown system for the new content).

    I just really like the whole Satyr and Faun lore, of which there is a Faun who had learned to break the control of Satyrs on them, and is teaching that to other Fauns. These Fauns would however be seen as a very dangerous threat to the Satyrs and they now have a group that specifically hunts them down and kills them. Of which the player comes across this, and can make a choice...

    One of my favorite systems in the game is the Overland Encounter system. While for now they are set up as a basic encounter and have wave battles, there's just so much more you could do with them. I just would love to see much more different types and other things added to the Overland Encounter System.

    I'm hoping at least some of this might at least a spark an idea or two for you in future content. Thank you!
     
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  9. Bowen Bloodgood

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    I'm just going to throw this out there. Maybe it will spark an idea.. (hope beyond hope)..

    If the devs haven't completely given up on actual lasting consequences, one path would be to introduce a true multiplayer layer of story and allow it to evolve. Though I doubt they have the budget to dedicate someone to that. As it is, a single player narrative in a multiplayer environment must remain static, so nothing you do has any meaningful consequence. (summing up the rant I didn't go off on).