Author Topic: NPCs  (Read 224 times)

Offline steve_mcdee

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NPCs
« on: April 08, 2017, 05:24:35 AM »
I have an NPC who will give the party a quest and then join the party. As the quest develops, the NPC will give further information and facilitate understanding of what the player should do next. The only problem with this is that the player is able to drop the NPC. If I were to use NPC says events then they would not provide the necessary information if the NPC were dropped. So I propose to use quest stage and text statement events to, in effect, check whether the NPC is in the party. The drawback is that this will mean that the NPC will keep talking to the party even though the player has tried to drop them. My feeling is that players will just have to live with that, and treat the NPC as with them even though not in the list and not a member of the party for the purposes of combat. I hope that won't annoy players too much.

I'd be interested to know if others have had this issue and, if so, how you have decided to deal with it.

Is this even a real issue? As a player, would you ever drop an NPC who was obviously important to the story?
« Last Edit: April 08, 2017, 05:33:50 AM by steve_mcdee »

Offline Dinonykos

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Re: NPCs
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2017, 09:35:18 AM »
In several of my designs, I added step events that automatically re-added NPCs to the party if they were dropped - does that work in FRUA, too? If so, you could express how happy the party is that the NPC re-joined and that it was a mistake to drop him/her...
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Offline hans

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Re: NPCs
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2017, 11:02:09 AM »
I would not drop an NPC who seemed connected to the plot. 

Of course, I enjoy adding NPCs to my party.  The only reason that I ever drop an NPC is if that slot is needed to add a better NPC.   ::)

Some mods have an author's preface to impart a bit of information or give a choice before the actual story begins.  ProphetSword did this recently in The Voice of Vengeance, and I did it in Oddities.  You could always add such a preface to your mod to instruct players not to drop that NPC. 

In Man-Storm, I added my NPC (Tempesteena) just before the fights that she was in, and removed her afterwards.  Even though she was technically missing from the party during the intervening events, I had her talking as if she was right there, still.  I used simple Text Events for her dialog, rather than NPC Says events.  I did this so that if she was K.O.ed during a fight, she could (apparently) shake it off immediately and start talking again, and when she returned for her next fight, she was always 100%.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2017, 11:10:02 AM by hans »

Offline Kaz-Keith

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Re: NPCs
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2017, 02:13:44 PM »
In several of my designs, I added step events that automatically re-added NPCs to the party if they were dropped - does that work in FRUA, too? If so, you could express how happy the party is that the NPC re-joined and that it was a mistake to drop him/her...

This would not be able to be done... only mimicked if there was a set location to always be able to regain said npc ie: a placed event.  There wouldn't be a way to re-add them on the fly in FRUA without some pretty heavy overhead costs to the module: step events and a quest to determine if the npc were in the in the party and/or alive etc.

I would not drop an NPC who seemed connected to the plot. 

Of course, I enjoy adding NPCs to my party.  The only reason that I ever drop an NPC is if that slot is needed to add a better NPC.   ::)

Some mods have an author's preface to impart a bit of information or give a choice before the actual story begins.  ProphetSword did this recently in The Voice of Vengeance, and I did it in Oddities.  You could always add such a preface to your mod to instruct players not to drop that NPC. 

In Man-Storm, I added my NPC (Tempesteena) just before the fights that she was in, and removed her afterwards.  Even though she was technically missing from the party during the intervening events, I had her talking as if she was right there, still.  I used simple Text Events for her dialog, rather than NPC Says events.  I did this so that if she was K.O.ed during a fight, she could (apparently) shake it off immediately and start talking again, and when she returned for her next fight, she was always 100%.

I actually remember this Hans - this would work fairly well as an alternate method to having the party roster host the npc and still have the npc be an 'active' member of the party.


To an even bigger point tho, Steve, I would say would be trying to address every conceivable action the player might take and account for them in your designing:  this is folly, sheer folly I tells ya  :) only because I've been at that point myself.  I say, go with what makes sense best to you yourself and explain in game if you feel the need exists to, otherwise let it be and trust that the player will make the same general accounting of play as you would.  By all means, preface and text-event away if that gives it a bit of security but... as anyone knows who may have ever tried player-proofing something whether in a video game or at the table, there is no way to cover everything a determined player might think up.  :D  Consider your options, decide on a path, provide for that path, and move it along ;)

Good luck and good designing!

Offline steve_mcdee

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Re: NPCs
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2017, 04:02:24 PM »
Very helpful responses, thanks guys.

One thing your responses have highlighted is that, even if the NPC is not dropped, they might be unconscious or dead. Using text statements rather than NPC says events will have the downside of causing the NPC to appear to speak even if dead.

The best option, if I can pull it off, may be this: include the absolutely plot-necessary material in text events triggered by quest stages (without the NPC talking or being addressed directly by other npcs), and have NPC says events placed in between, adding those interactions, so that the events unfold as intended when the NPC is conscious in the party but still make enough sense if she is not.

Offline Dinonykos

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Re: NPCs
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2017, 03:27:39 AM »
The best option, if I can pull it off, may be this: include the absolutely plot-necessary material in text events triggered by quest stages (without the NPC talking or being addressed directly by other npcs), and have NPC says events placed in between, adding those interactions, so that the events unfold as intended when the NPC is conscious in the party but still make enough sense if she is not.

I think that sounds very good.
I also like Hans' idea to indicate that the NPC should not be dropped. Maybe instead of adding that in a preface, you could also indicate the importance of the character when/right before he/she is added in the framework of the background story.

In Man-Storm, I added my NPC (Tempesteena) just before the fights that she was in, and removed her afterwards.  Even though she was technically missing from the party during the intervening events, I had her talking as if she was right there, still.  I used simple Text Events for her dialog, rather than NPC Says events.  I did this so that if she was K.O.ed during a fight, she could (apparently) shake it off immediately and start talking again, and when she returned for her next fight, she was always 100%.
I wondered about this when playing the design, and I think it was a convincing approach, too.

In DC, you can quite easily check if the NPC is dead or unconscious, that allows to make related events more "realistic".
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Offline ProphetSword

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Re: NPCs
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2017, 06:44:26 PM »
If the NPC is plot important, you could do what I have done in modules like AT1: Dark Alliances, where the NPC is in the party but does not appear in the roster or help the PCs fight. This way, the player cannot drop the NPC. With this method, you can use standard text messages.


If you want the NPC in the fights, just create them as a monster and add them to the combats as a friendly monster.
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