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-   -   Story Characters vs Player Made Characters (http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8048)

GothicGothicness September 5th, 2009 09:42

Story Characters vs Player Made Characters
I am having a kind of dilema about this. To have story characters in the group is kind of necesarry for the game, but I also think it is fun and good to allow the player to create and develop own ones. So I want to know how you guys feel about this issue. Feel free to write in more detail after you voted.

bkrueger September 5th, 2009 10:59

I have voted for "other"

The reason is, that I personally prefer story characters and don't need the option for self made ones. However I don't mind if the game has the option of self defined characters. So no option fitted exactly.

By the way, the reason for my preference for story charcters is immersion. I feel much more immersed if I identify with a being, which is already part of the world, has a history and so on.

Characters like the Witcher or nameless heros in PS:T and Gothic were more immersing for me than self made characters like in Baldurs Gate or NWN 2. They are also examples that story characters are not mutually excusive withinteresting character development.

I know that for other people the immersion feeling is greater, when they can define the hair colour and the name of their character, while things like that are irrelevant for me. However, I would like it, if they could have the possibility to do that.

May be there is a possibility to achieve both:

If you game will be party based you could implement it in such a way that every character in the group has the same options with respect to gameplay mechanics (so there is no pre-defined leader ofthe group as far as game mechanics are concerned).

You could then allow to mix the group from predefined characters with a story (and the story might require that have to have one or more of these in the party), while others are freely designable. The latter could for example have the typical non-story background like being a bhaalspawn orphan from a burned down village, but having no real personal story.

With such construction one player could chose a predefined story character as the lead of the group and play through the complete game this way, while another player could do the same with a completely self definned one. The have different roles in the story but both can be chosen as leader gameplaywise.

Addition: As an example, why for me immersion is stronger with predefined story characters instead ofself defined ones: If you consider being an actor in a theatre or a movie - which possibility is more interesting: To play a character, who is exactly like yourself or to play one, which is absolutely different from you normal self? For me it is clearly the second one.

GothicGothicness September 5th, 2009 11:26

I don't want to reveal too much, but I think you would be fairly satisfied with the system that is currently in the game. I will explain after more people replied to the poll, as to not affect the peoples opinion before it is done.

Pladio September 5th, 2009 22:13

I don't like having to make my own characters before I know what the game is about too much. I like developing my character in relation to the gameworld.
How would I know before the game starts if my character wants more strength or more charisma and so on … or to have the barter skill or …

I prefer the things like in Gothic, but more on the skills based thing than the story thing. I like the fact that the guy from let's say Fallout had some kind of past and so on…

I hope I'm making sense.

GG, the best of luck for your game and whenever it's in a state you're ready to show it to people, count me in :)

Also, please don't make it go vapourware like Grimoire and others.

EDIT: I voted for I want story characters …

I forgot, like I said, this is mostly a skills thing, so if I can play around first for a while and then the rest of the party I can choose or do things with then that's also ok. It's just the start that I don't like having to choose stuff, then play for hours to realize this particular build is bad or unenjoyable.

Maylander September 7th, 2009 10:23

I really like the solution in Mass Effect, where the main character is only known as "Commander Shepard". That way, you still get to customize the character to a certain degree, and choose sex, but the developers are still able to build a decent story around the character.

It's something of a hybrid, but I like that solution.

Beyond that, I prefer recruiting interesting NPCs over making them. It adds to the story. A good solution would probably be:
- Let's say we have 5 character slots, 1 for the main character.
- 8-10 recruitable NPCs to recruit (4 available slots).
- The ability to custom build your own party instead of using the NPCs that you meet during the game. You can decide to create the main character + 2 NPCs, and recruit 2 NPCs later on (Baldur's Gate had such a system, but only if you started a multiplayer game).

Also, it's not a bad idea to increase the number of slots through game, for example based on Charisma (like in Arcanum). That way, even the later NPCs you find might be interesting (as you might just get an extra slot at level 30). I generally like the Arcanum solution a lot, where you can decide to either make a tougher main character, or a more charismatic one relying on henchmen/persuasive non-combat options.

wolfing September 7th, 2009 20:13

I want to create my character while other PCs in the party are story based.

txa1265 September 7th, 2009 22:21

It really depends on the context of the game for me - I like creating my own sometimes, but so long as I have control at some point I'm fine with a Gothic type system.

dteowner September 7th, 2009 23:06

I much prefer having control over the development of all my characters, but not to the point where I'll ignore a good game that doesn't work that way.

wolfing September 8th, 2009 14:59

Maybe an interesting alternative is to have storyline characters that you create when you meet them. Like, when you meet Ella the thief, the character screen comes up and you define her skills/abilities (with class locked as Thief in this case)

GothicGothicness September 8th, 2009 15:41

Darn it wolfing, that's exactly how it works. Did you steal/peak at the games design documents??? I feel a bit worried now.. better check my PC for spyware :D

I might as well tell how it works now. There are some story characters vital to the storyline, the first time you meet with them you can place attributes etc ( it also fits in the storyline but I don't want to spoil why) but some characters are locked to their chosen baseclass, so for example if we have Wolfing the brave scout as a main story character, you could develop him in different paths according to the scout class ( Trapmaster, Hunter, Path finder ) etc.

You can also "recruit" characters in the game, when you do this you can do some re-rolling of stats, choose their class, add skills etc etc, their will be certain requirements and way to get different races, so you could not create anything you want directly from the start however as you progress in the game you could create and recruit more and more. This also satisfy the "all the characters are really part of the world requirement" that someone here wanted.

Also their is only one character which will be required in your team, except for that you can choose and mix between story and recruit characters.

I will give more info on the system later on.

Ideas and comments ???

skavenhorde September 11th, 2009 21:18

I was going to say that I would like I create my own character and pick up story pcs along the way like Baldur's gate, KOTOR, Mass Effect(even though the name never changes you have total control in what kind of character Shepard is) etc…. But I like the way you're doing it better. They're sorta a best of both worlds. Story mode characters mixed in with my own picks for their abilities.

Keep up the good work. This game is getting more interesting by the minute.

Arundor September 12th, 2009 04:17

It sounds like an interesting system. From what you've said so far it sounds like a game I'd try.

In my personal opinion, it is critical that at least one character be completely player created, with complete freedom of choice over their roleplaying background as well as their skills/stats/etc. Beyond that, I'm happy whether the other characters are player created or story created.

Dez September 12th, 2009 12:42

On paper it sounds fun to create the whole party from scratch but it becomes rather dull quite fast. Most often story character is the best way to go. That is if you wish player to feel something for his party members. Baldur's gate 2 would be a much lesser game without all the wonderfull party interaction. Besides its really difficult to build a decent story otherwise.

However despite the predefined backrounds I like to be in nearly full control how they level up. Class choise on the otherhand should be predefined. Mincs is a ranger, Jaheira is a druid, hk 17 is a battle droid, Cart is a soldier…I would only wish to change my party member's class if it was part of the game's storyline, like transferring khelgar into a monk he always wanted to be.

PaladinPatrick September 28th, 2009 14:40

Although I just voted for "Yes, I only want my own characters" I like the design choice and would be more than happy to play that way :).

azraelck October 5th, 2009 04:36

In heavily combat oriented dungeon crawlers, I much prefer a custom party. In a heavily story-based game, static (or at least only mildly customizable) characters are needed.

So in short, I'd be happy regardless of the decision. I do like the design choice, and the way it is presented. Being able to alter the character to an extent may help cure some of the woes I notice with purely static pre-defined PC's in many games I've played.

Viper2904 November 10th, 2009 15:58

I cannot think of a better way to say it right now or another game, but I liked the system in Final Fantasy Tactics (although I am not a big fan of the series). I like having some main story charecters but also having the ability to recruit (create) other charecters.

I liked the Wiz8 system as well, but I didn't feel that you got immersed into the story enough.

SkeleTony September 7th, 2012 20:34

Voted "other". While I can take or leave RPCs (Recruite-able Player Characters…what you seem to call "story characters") and MUST have the ability to create most of my party myself, I think the best way is to have RPCs (2 or 3) you can recruit if you so choose. The advantages could be that certain RPCs are in some way or other more powerful than what you can create but perhaps the advantage of creating all your PCs is flexibility and/or being able to create exactly what you think you need to survive and thrive.

For my money a game that allows you to create 8 PCs OR create 5, 6 or 7 PCs and recruit others would be best. That way everyone is happy. Don't want to create 8 PCs? Fine. Create 4 or 6 and recruit some more later. May be a bit tougher in the beginning but maybe easier once you find the RPCs you want.

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