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PaizoCon 2014!

Social Skills: The Diplomat, The Spy, The Merchant, The Bounty Hunter, and The Blood Drenched Half-Orc


Pathfinder Online

Goblin Squad Member

This is just a brief list of ideas of mine on social skills. Some of these will be very familiar because they are based off D&D. Some of them will not be, because this is an MMO, and the D&D system while fun could use some tweaks.

Social skills are VERY important to any good D&D or D20 based game. Unfortunatly even though they were done to decent effect in some single player games (Knights of the Old Republic and Neverwinter Nights) in MMOs they don't really meet the mark or have been removed entirely. (The Old Republic or Dungeons and Dragons Online)

That is not to say they CAN'T be well done in an MMO. Social skills could not only be useful in a game like this, but useful enough that certain characters may put large amounts of focus into them. Or perhaps just a little focus. My suggested skills would allow just that.

Plus half-elves will be crap unless you make social skills worthwhile. And that would be a shame because half-elves are the non-stuck up bearded versions of elves that are basically elves minus everything I hate about elves.

Skills

These are skills you actually have to train to unlock badges.

Diplomacy- This is your most basic social skill. This skill determines your persuasive abilities, and is also the prerequisite to some of your other social skills. The basic idea of diplomacy is this is how well your character understands social interaction and how to charm or manipulate people. It allows you to make people like you more, or at least to convince them of something. Having high diplomacy helps with things like:

1. Interacting with quest NPCs as well as other NPCs you can talk to. Groups may want a diplomatic character along to persuade NPCs to do things that might make the quest easier, open up more side content, or yield a better reward. It will ALWAYS yield a better reward if the reward is something like reputation points. For NPCs who don't normally give quests, it may help find secret quests or convince them to give you items and information.

2. Motivating NPCs. This is primarily used in inspiring guard type NPCs to fight harder but also gives a small bonus to the morale of commoners used by crafters. (I do mean a small bonus. High diplomacy is not meant to be a must have for merchants.)

3. Activating the parley ability against NPCs. And interacting with them afterward.

Bluff- This is your character's skill in using a diplomacy action that involves your character saying something they know to be untrue. Bluff is basically how convincing of a liar you are. This skill is a sub-skill of diplomacy. It is used for:

1. Interacting with quest NPCs as well as other NPCs you can talk to. Bluffing can help convince NPCs to do things that might make the quest easier, open up more side content, or yield a better reward. For NPCs who don't normally give quests, it may help find secret quests or convince them to give you items and information.

2. Displaying a false identity. Bluff is the skill used to change your name and other non-physical attributes when undercover including things like what organization you are, what deity you worship, what your alignment is etc. When in false identity any information that can be revealed by examining you (or revealed by an introduction if that is the system Goblinworks goes with) now reflects your false identity, and any PMs sent to your fake name will be sent to you. It does not change your name on your friends list. People may friend your new identity, who will only show up as online while you are in disguise. A maxed bluff skill allows up to three false identities. A false identity that hasn't been used in two months will be lost. (Can't have too many since they will eat up player names.) Players can see through false identities with a sense motive check if you talk to them. In addition if you are on a character's friend or foe list, or they have an open bounty for you, they immediately see through your false identity, as well as NPCs you have spoken to before and town guards if you are an outlaw unless you are also wearing a disguise. (Note: You CANNOT take the name of an existing player. That would just be OP, and confuse the PM system. You can however take the name of an NPC and show up as an NPC.)

3. It helps with negotiating with NPCs in parley mode.

Disguise- This is a sub-skill of bluff and therefore of diplomacy as well. This is the ability to change your character's physical appearance or that of others. At low levels it may be with simple costumes. At higher levels it may even involve magical items. It is used for:

1. Changing your character's race, gender, or appearance. (It can actually allow you to enter a screen much like a barber where you change your hair style, skin tone, facial features etc.) When in disguise any information that can be revealed by examining you displays as the information for the disguise you are using. Disguises can also be linked to a false identity so that you will automatically turn that identity on /off when you don or remove the disguise. Players/NPCs with a high spot check may be able to see through the disguise. If you speak to them they will also get a sense motive check. (Note: With the proper level and items you can disguise yourself as any humanoid creature including things like goblins or a lich. This can be very useful in avoiding confrontations with NPCs, or even trading and taking quests from them.)

2. You may also request to disguise another player, and if they do, you may put a disguise on them. However if they speak, they still have to use their bluff check to avoid being uncovered.

Trading Finesse- This skill is basically Knowledge: Market with a diplomatic twist. It is the primary social skill of all traders, and while it takes a little diplomacy to start, most traders will likely take the small amount of diplomacy needed then forget about diplomacy unless they want the abilities more specific to it. Trade Negotiations reflects your knowledge of prices, and your ability to convince people to cut you a better deal. It also reflects your abilities as an advertiser. It is used for:

1. Raising the prices NPCs are willing to pay for your goods and services and lowering the prices you have to pay for theirs. This includes shops as well as things like the upkeep on your camps and other crafting structures because you are better at negotiating things like repair costs and wages for your commoners. Any form of taxes you have to pay are also lowered. The extent of how much this effects prices depends on what it's effecting. Some things may drastically be reduced while others you may be taking in tenths of a percent.

2. Advertising your goods. A merchant with a high trading finesse may find the prices of their goods being discussed in distant taverns or on bulletin boards a few cities over. (This is highly dependent on what form good advertisements take of course.)

Intimidate- While your diplomacy skill can affect your chances of a successful intimidate, it is not a requirement. This is your skill at convincing people that if they don't do what you say, terrible, terrible things will happen to them. Intimidate may come in different forms and unlike many of the other skills charisma is not always the main modifier. While a halfling rouge my use diplomacy and charisma to bolster their intimidate, a half-orc barbarian wielding a blood splattered batter axe with human remains clinging to the spikes on their armor won't have to use any charisma at all. Their intimidate check will mostly be modified by their strength and gear. It is used for:

1. Interacting with quest NPCs as well as other NPCs you can talk to. It might make the quest easier, open up more side content, or yield a better reward. It will sometimes yield a LOWER reward if the reward is something like reputation points. For NPCs who don't normally give quests, it may help find secret quests or convince them to give you items and information.

2. It enables and bolsters the battle cry ability.

3. It helps with negotiating with NPCs in parley mode.

Sense Motive- Unlike most social skills this is modified by wisdom rather than charisma. This skill how good you are at discerning if someone is telling the truth, or spotting people who are up to no good. It can be used to:

1. Determine if an NPC is lying to you. In many cases an NPC may mislead you or even set you up for a betrayal as part of a quest line. With a proper sense motive check, you may be able to save yourself a lot of hassle, and determine who the bad guy is faster.

2. See through players false identities and disguises. Whenever a player speaks and you can hear them speak, you make a sense motive check on them if they are in a disguise or false identity. Depending on how high your check is, you might just no that they aren't who they claim, or you might learn who/what they are. You may then choose to use a reveal action on them. This action shows everyone who looks at this player from then on all the information you learned about them until they create a new disguise/false identity. If you know nothing other than that they aren't who they claim it will simply show them as "Undercover Player." Spot can also be used in-place of this, but it only allows you to see through disguises. Not false identities.

Gather Information- This is your skill in finding rumors. It is especially useful in taverns, as there are a lot of slightly drunk people to talk to or eavesdrop on. It is used for:

1. Finding secret quests and hidden locations from NPCs. (It will mark these locations on your map.)

2. Finding the last location a player was seen by an intelligent NPC be it a mob or a trader/quest-giver/etc. Their standing and your standing with the NPC who saw them, and the distance away at which they were seen both modify the difficulty. However a low check may not mean failure, but just a broader answer. (The location will be marked on your map. The location may be an area rather than a point. The area will be a large, transparent, circle on the map, that they could be at any point within AKA it isn't always centered on the exact location.)

Languages- These allow you to read, write, and speak a language. Provided you CAN read and write of course, otherwise it is just for speaking a language. The use of it is:

1. Not every NPC can speak common. In order to interact with NPCs that can't you need to know one of the languages they can be it elven, dwarven, draconic, orcish, or some other language. This comes into play a lot when talking to NPCs for many reasons. ESPECIALLY when using the parley ability.

2. You will get a diplomatic bonus when speaking to any NPC in it's native language.

Abilities

These are abilities unlocked by badges. Not all the abilities the skills above un-lock are here, but that is because they were described plenty well enough above.

Parley- Parley as an ability that can be activated in combat against an intelligent creature dependent on your diplomacy skill. Druids can also activate this against creatures of nature. You must know a language that a creature speaks in order for it to parley with you. If you know a language it speaks, and your parley check is successful the creature or group of creatures will stop fighting and enter into negotiations. The negotiations are pretty simple. Each race that can parley has a set conversation tree to make things simple. The parley has a few simple outcomes you can work toward. You can work to make your enemies back down from the fight. That will cause the enemies to not begin the fight again once the parley is over, and they may even drop their weapons and loot if you convinced them to surrender. The second thing is if one of the NPCs affected by the parley was the leader of the whole spawn, you can convince them to move to another hex, or change alignment. This can be VERY difficult sometimes but well worth it. Convincing them to move to another hex will make their spawn disappear in your hex and a spawn of the same creature type will appear in a nearby hex within the next day or two. If you were lucky, you got to choose which hex, and they might be your enemies problem now. You can also cause them to change alignment or stop attacking you and your allies. Changing alignment changes their behavior. Turning them neutral will cause them not to attack players unless provoked. Turning them good will cause them to only attack outlaw and evil aligned players. Turning them evil causes them to attack everything with certain exceptions like they may leave alone other evil players or worshipers of their deity dependent on their creature type. Convincing them not to attack you or your allies, will cause them not to attack anyone in your clan or partied with someone in your clan.

Battle Cry- Battle cry is an AoE fear effect that hits all hostile targets around you (With a few exceptions like constructs and undead.) and is dependent on your intimidate skill. It can have one of three effects if the target fails to resist it. First, it scare an enemy. Scare gives some light penalties like lowered hit chance and block/dodge chance. Second it can cause an enemy to retreat. They then run away from you for a short period of time until they re-gain their nerve (Only use-able on NPCs). Third it can cause them to flee. This means they lose aggro and just start running (Only use-able on NPCs). Battle cry is an instant with no cost, but once it has effected an enemy they will be immune to it until it wears off. Also note that the 2nd ability tends to only effect NPCs a decent bit weaker than you unless you have VERY high intimidate, and 3rd will basically only run off enemies who stand no chance against you.

Important Social Effects

Race and Language- These can have a large effect in dealing with certain NPCs. You will almost always get a bonus when dealing with NPCs of the same race, and when speaking in their native language. You may also get associated penalties if your race has strained relations or open hostility with theirs, or if that particular NPC is racist against your race. If you are disguised, your race penalty or bonus goes of the race of your disguise.

Deity and Alignment- If you worship the same deity you get a bonus. (Especially if you are wearing an outward sign such as a holy symbol.) If your deities are friendly with each-other you get a slight bonus. If your deities dislike each-other you get a penalty. There is also a major penalty for negotiating with a character who is good/evil if you are the opposite, and a light penalty for negotiating with a character who is lawful/chaotic when you are the opposite. If they are of the same alignment you get a bonus. If you are under a false identity, these are based on the alignment of your false identity.

Armor/Appearance- Many pieces of gear has social attributes attached to it. While some plain leather armor may not do much for you, wearing polished steel with golden trim and a white cape is going to both impress people who are good, and show off your wealth, meaning you have more sway in the court of nobles and kings. It gold trim may actually lose sway with you among a group of chaotic good bandits who rob from the rich to give to the poor. These are actual stats on the armor such as (+200 good and +300 wealth). Having a symbol of your deity on the chest might give (+100 Iomedae.) Where as your monk who has taken a vow of poverty and dressed in tattered burlap robes might have (-100 wealth.) A barbarian who has a blood spattered battleaxe on with are hung some chains with skulls at the end. Much like the skulls stuck on the ends of the spikes coming from the shoulders of his jet black armor with red warpaint tossed on it to look like blood... might have (+500 intimidate, +200 evil)

Gender- That selfish unapproachable rouge may have a soft spot for the ladies. That bitter middle aged woman may happen to hate men, but secretly really want to talk to one with some real charm. Gender should effect certain character's perception of you, but it depends highly on the individual NPC.

The Roleplay These Ideas Could Spark

The Diplomat- The diplomat is sly and charming. Master of interacting with people he may be the spokesmen of the party, or even have a leadership position within his company or kingdom. The diplomat first and foremost centers a lot of attention into the Diplomacy skill. They use this to inspire their NPC allies or yield better rewards from the NPCs they talk to. The parley ability is important to them. Their parties strategy at driving away NPC spawns may not even be to defeat them but to make their way to the leader and have the diplomat convince them to leave or stop attacking their company. Because the diplomat is both the main speaker of the party, and a negotiator on the battlefield they tend to train many languages. They also might train other social skills like sense motive and bluff to make sure they aren't being lied to, and to expand the tools at their disposal while negotiating.

The Spy- The spy is an asset. They can infiltrate both player and NPC organizations. They might disguise themselves as someone else entirely and join an enemy clan under their false identity, or use their disguise ability to make the whole party seem to be orcs, either to sneak through orc territory, or even to interact with them. With his high bluff he can speak to the orcs while the party remains silent to avoid having to bluff themselves. Obviously the main skills of a spy are bluff and disguise. Learning other languages may also be important to a spy who wants to be able to convince other players he really is the race he is disguised as, or to allow him to actually speak to the NPCs the party is disguised as.

The Merchant- To the merchant, there is one skill that is a must have. Trading Finesse. This skill allows them to run every aspect of their operation more efficiently to expand those profit margins and make sure potential costumers hear about their great deals. While the merchant is probably primarily focused on crafting related skills, if they have enough spare time they might invest it into some diplomacy to help motivate those commoners, or maybe even to help them negotiate with or bribe off those NPC bandits harassing their camps.

The Bounty Hunter- The bounty hunter is specialized in tracking down those with a price on their heads. Even the more sneaky among them. Using gather information they can hunt down their target, wherever they may be hiding. Especially with their listening skills perfectly suited for hearing rouges sneaking through the dark, as well as loose lips in a tavern. And with their keen spot and sense motive checks they can see right through their disguise so they can take down their target and claim their reward. The bounty hunter might also take additional languages so they can speak to and eavesdrop on more potential sources. Or take diplomacy to help charm an NPC who might not be so willing to give up the information to just anyone.

The Blood Drenched Half-Orc- He may have an intelligence and charisma of 6 but his jet black armor, covered in spikes, red warpaint, and the bones of humanoids topped off with a horned helmet, and complemented with a battle axe still stained in the blood of his last victim, who's head happens to be dangling from the blade by a chain... does all the talking for him. Beyond the substantial armor bonuses, and the bonus for his 24 strength, his intimidate skill itself is through the roof. While he would consider taking another language, the six words that he knows of his own seem plenty sufficient to reduce most people he knows to a trembling, whimpering, mass of tears. Battle-crys don't require fancy language learning. Or the ability to form a coherent sentence.

Goblin Squad Member

I forgot to add something important. The state of the battle would have a large effect on the success of the parley skill. If your party is about to wipe and the enemy is still going strong it will be EXTREMELY difficult to parley. If half the enemy is dead, the rest are nearly dead, and your party is barely warmed up, it will be extremely easy to convince the enemy to give up the fight, leave the hex, or not to mess with your party/company anymore.

The best time to convince your enemy to shift alignment is probably before any damage is dealt. You don't really want the blood pumping, the rage flowing, and the enemy screaming "YOU KILLED MY BROTHER!" when you are trying to convince them to give up their evil ways, or to abandon the light and follow your dark god.

It might even be cool to add a cool role-play feature like a vow of pacifism that would disable you from using any damage dealing abilities but gives a big bonus to converting NPCs.

Goblin Squad Member

It will be interesting to see how this side of things pans out as Kingdoms come into play.

Titled Nobility and the intrigues of court.
Devious trade agreements and counter-intelligence maneuvers between nations.
Marshals and generals parleying terms of surrender on the fields of battle.
Mayors and Kings levying taxes from the common-folk, raising levies, creating allegiances.
Revolutions and insurgencies.

Some wild stuff. A lot of it isn't really anything you would design specific systems to do, since a lot of it just player driven interaction, but I am curious to see how the Kingdom System comes together to encourage and drive these kinds of interactions.

Goblin Squad Member

Southraven wrote:

It will be interesting to see how this side of things pans out as Kingdoms come into play.

Titled Nobility and the intrigues of court.
Devious trade agreements and counter-intelligence maneuvers between nations.
Marshals and generals parleying terms of surrender on the fields of battle.
Mayors and Kings levying taxes from the common-folk, raising levies, creating allegiances.
Revolutions and insurgencies.

Some wild stuff. A lot of it isn't really anything you would design specific systems to do, since a lot of it just player driven interaction, but I am curious to see how the Kingdom System comes together to encourage and drive these kinds of interactions.

While a lot of it is player interaction and obviously negotiating the terms of surrender between two player kingdoms has nothing to do with diplomacy, we do know there will be quest NPCs, common laborers, and I believe the new blog directly referenced or at least inferred NPC guards. It certainly mentioned NPCs moving into an area and causing problems for crafters.

I designed as many of these skills and abilities as I could to have both PVE and PVP uses, but even a skill purely with PVE impact will be worth it to take for some people. Some of the developers posted in other topics about characters designed to be strong against aberrations that wouldn't do quite as well in PVP so we know some skills and abilities even in combat are primarily PVE.

Your diplomat is pretty-much a PVE and NPC related character. While you might have a diplomat who functions like a diplomat in their training as well there isn't much way to force it to be a requirement. Like-wise your merchant's abilities are strongly NPC associated... like crafting itself.

Your bounty hunter and spy have STRONG player interaction implications. With spies actually being able to disguise themselves as another player entirely in order to slip through hostile territory, a town, or trick players into thinking they are friendly. The ability to dress up as an NPC is even useful. Little did you know that hobgoblin camp contains an entire enemy player party who are waiting for you to engage in the fight with the hobgoblins and take some decent damage before they reveal themselves and finish the job. Boy will you be surprised when two hobgoblin grunts open up on you with backstab and inflict serious wounds. And bounty hunters are the strong counter to spies, being able to hunt down players running through the law, and seeing through their clever disguises. Their gather information skill alone makes them very useful in PVP. And both models have skills that might be used by a PVP assassin.

The intimidate skill is mainly PVE one, but the scare debuff from battle cry, and it's lack of casting time or cost will make scaring PVP opponents useful even if you can only do it once a battle. Someone with high diplomacy that has NPC guards fighting alongside him might inspire them to resist that battle cry as well.

I think having social skills like the ones suggested or at least in some form is important to the game. D&D is filled with social interaction and characters based on it. As much of that as can be implemented in this game, is a good thing. It would be awesome to see something like a PVP assassin with their primary training going into bluff, disguise, gather information, and a skill like pick-pocketing that would allow them to poison their target's food in the pack, or rouge style back-stab. Or both. Or a diplomat that spends the majority of their training on social skills and learning languages.

We shouldn't just dismiss social interaction as something meant to be purely between players with no mechanics to spice it up.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

That seems like a lot of added complexity for something which can never be used in interacting with other player characters.

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
That seems like a lot of added complexity for something which can never be used in interacting with other player characters.

What does? The only skills that have little use for player interaction are Diplomacy (Only really useful for motivating NPC guards in PVP), Trading Finesse (Only useful for advertising purposes as far as other players go but still massively useful for crafters and merchants), Languages, (Only useful RP-and communicating in languages less widely known than common in group settings. Or for prooving you are in-deed an elf because you know both common and elven... when you're actually just a human disguised as an elf with the elven language skill.) and Intimidate (Can be used for an AoE debuff that may actually prove very useful in major PVP battles.)

Bluff, disguise, sense motive, and gather information are all incredibly useful in PVP. No offense but when you start saying "Can never be used in interacting with other players" I'm wondering if you read anything beyond the name of the topic and the introduction.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

The interactions you described mostly aren't social, but combat. With the exception of appearing to be a different race, what advantage does bluff/disguise have over the ability to change character names and not reveal affiliations?

The players' skill at lying and detecting lies overrides the characters' in every case; if there is an in-game method to falsify character information, then the falsifiable information won't be used when deciding who to trust.

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
The interactions you described mostly aren't social, but combat. With the exception of appearing to be a different race, what advantage does bluff/disguise have over the ability to change character names and not reveal affiliations?

Because if a player is has an open bounty contract against you, or has you on a their foe list (Basically a friends list that makes it so when you see certain people there is an easy visual identifier that you don't like them.) and you are using the false identity option they will instantly see through it unless you are disguised, and a disguised player can be revealed for their true self if someone with a high enough spot or sense motive comes along.

That is a huge advantage over the ability to change character names and not reveal affiliations because it means your true identity can catch up with you. PLUS someone with 0 skills can't do it. It should be an invested thing not just a side-hobby.

This system requires you to be a specialist to be an effective spy. Without a high bluff or disguise any person with a high enough spot or sense motive walking through the street will instantly see you for who you are, where a master spy will only be revealed if a master bounty hunter tracks them down and gets within say 10 feet of them while they are speaking, or three feet while they are not. Or if they aren't being hunted by the master bounty hunter or whoever has the super high spot and/or sense motive check, they might only be revealed if they use that persons first or last name in local chat while they are within 10 feet of them. Yes this might lead to people "spy-checking" by asking people to say their name, but its not like people will run through crowds yelling "SAY MY NAME!" And get any response other than "Go away." from the general non-spy public.

Smart spies will learn tactics to avoid detection like rather than joining the main clan in an alliance that has recruiters with maxed out sense motive and spot, they join minor clans in that alliance don't have the skills/time to check all their members for being a spy. Once they are in awhile they aren't likely to get spy-checked by someone else in the alliance unless they raise suspicion somehow.

EDIT: I actually came up with an option I consider to be drastically better over lunch. I think the above model leaves spies a bit... underpowered. Spot/Sense Motive would only work on very low level spies no matter what your level was unless you had them selected as a currently tracked target. There would be a new-skill called man-hunting that could ONLY be used against targets with bounties on them. Man-hunting allows you to track from one to five players who have bounties on them depending on your level. Man-hunting would give bonuses to finding them in stealth, seeing through their disguises and finding their location via. gather information. These bonuses would allow a max level sense motive and spot bounty hunter to hunt a max level spy with spot/sense motive. Otherwise a max level spy would be IMPOSSIBLE to spot.

The way to spot a max level spy would be a new ability called "Background check." It is based of gather information and sense motive (Sense motive so you can spot fishy inconsistencies in the background check.) You would enter in a players name and it would run a check on their background. Higher sense motive/gather information levels allow higher quality background checks. High quality background checks are EXPENSIVE. But so are high quality disguises. The highest quality disguise would only be available with max bluff and disguise check. This would effectively make you that character even changing your racial bonuses to reflect the new character because of the magical nature of the disguise. It could ONLY be revealed through a max level background check which would cost so much you would pretty-much only get one if you were about to get access to a major company's bank.

Lower level disguises are far cheaper as are lower level background checks.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Except that nobody will run the IC background check. It doesn't work against the trivial act of making a new account. Instead, trusted positions will be given based on direct personal experience, or on recommendations from trusted people regarding their direct experience.

Unless you want to try to assume the identity if a specific character played by another player, the best you can do is reset your trust to baseline. Since anybody can do that, baseline trust is worthless.

If you want skills to provide protection from bounties, then you are encouraging the actions which result in bounties being posted. Since the highest bounties will be accessible only to characters who have spent skill time on breaking disguises, bounty hunters become gentrified. A major bandit should have to worry about all the bounty hunters, not just the best ones.

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:

Except that nobody will run the IC background check. It doesn't work against the trivial act of making a new account. Instead, trusted positions will be given based on direct personal experience, or on recommendations from trusted people regarding their direct experience.

Unless you want to try to assume the identity if a specific character played by another player, the best you can do is reset your trust to baseline. Since anybody can do that, baseline trust is worthless.

If you want skills to provide protection from bounties, then you are encouraging the actions which result in bounties being posted. Since the highest bounties will be accessible only to characters who have spent skill time on breaking disguises, bounty hunters become gentrified. A major bandit should have to worry about all the bounty hunters, not just the best ones.

Making a new account costs money if you want to skill train that account. If you don't skill train that account people are going to start asking "Why does this guy never get any new skills?" If your intention is to delete that account so you can assume a new identity for your next scam... then what a waste of money. If you could instead take on an entirely new persona that is only detectable if a large amount of in-game money is spent. That is HIGHLY preferable to me at least. Baseline trust on a developed character that would otherwise be known for their infamous deeds is NOT worthless to me.

As the leader of a clan that has actually had spies in enemy clans in the past this is HIGH value deal. Even if you don't stand much chance of getting bank access, having a spy in the enemies ranks is like playing cards with your opponent's hand face up on the table. Even just a recruit ranked spy can report troop movements, training tactics, or the times of major battle events they want the whole clan to show up for. You may not see value in it, but I'll be looking for at least a couple recruits who DO see the value in it if it ends up in game.

As stated earlier high level disguises take a lot of money to buy. If you have no bounty on your head, they take a lot of money to reveal. If you DO have a bounty on your head a master bounty hunter can track you down, and find your identity FOR FREE just by coming NEAR you. Once he does he will reveal you making that expensive disguise USELESS from then on. I'm not sure what about that trivializes bounties. Master spy disguises are more for information gatherers. If you want to be an assassin you are better off using low or mid level disguises because you will be replacing them on a frequent basis.

Goblin Squad Member

ramblings and random suggestions...

Uses for Diplomacy:
-Motivating NPCs would include raising commoners morale for gathering/processing/crafting and construction
-Unlock 'reputation' merit badges, ie bonuses when dealing with npc organisations
-Possibly some in-game customisation (different colour nameplate etc) to make you stand out in a crowd.

Uses for Disguise:
-possibly allow hiding of nameplate. People can still target you to see your name, but have to actively check.
-possibly allow pre-set disguises to disguise as NPC/monster type. As long as disguise is maintained, graphics and nameplate should change, as should NPC reaction to disguised player. These disguises should likely be dropped when hostile action is taken, to prevent NPC abuse and balance it with invisibility/stealth.
-(polymorph type spells would work similar to disguise, also but affect stats and have different conditions for expiring).
-certain disguises could give access to certain PVE content.

Goblin Squad Member

I think there could be a lot more use for Diplomacy if PFO let player organizations create their own Quests (specialized buy orders) and determine who is eligible to take part in them. Generally, most of the uses you can think of in relation to NPC factions could also be applied to PC factions.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
I think there could be a lot more use for Diplomacy if PFO let player organizations create their own Quests (specialized buy orders) and determine who is eligible to take part in them. Generally, most of the uses you can think of in relation to NPC factions could also be applied to PC factions.

I also second this, and I think this could add a greater use for the possible player created modules if they are done.

IE someone makes a large chartered company, they could set the entery requirements as "Deliver X resources" and clear "X module"

Personally I think that could be the best use for player made modules, as I honestly don't see any sane way that a loot or other reward can fairly be implemented in an infinitely repeatable module, doubly so for player created ones.


Andius, these are some great ideas, thank you for posting them up here so we can discuss them. First off, I really like the effects theses skills create. It really will make for another interesting element to the "end game" component. So far my favorite one has been "Gather Information". It would really make a spy or enemy think twice about where they step foot in town or around PF. It would force people who are being tracked to keep to the wilderness (which perhaps would then be qualified for some ranger skill to track/ant-track). I think this would also force people to be watchful of what routes they takes. Otherwise, I have liked all your suggestions so far, except for one.

It is true that an effective spy will always try to attack the weakest link of the alliance, guild, or corperation. Once they have been assimilated into the guild for awhile, people tend to loose their barriers allowing the spy to easily rise up the ranks if he produces enough. However, I warn you about involving money with disquises and background checks. That really plays an advantage to the rich/bigger guilds in the game. I would much prefer a skill-based/bounty hunter mechanic to detecting a spy. I would also like it to be easier to disquise yourself and harder to detect a spy. If you nerf the spy too much then people will simplely turn to an alternative and simpler/cleaner method of spying (creating another account).

This being said, if a spy is caught (which takes skill, time, and maybe even a little money) they would suffer a serious debuff in PvP right after being revealed, all information about them would be revealed (associations, other false identities, and ect.), and they would lose their reputation as a good spy. Other intiatives could be taken but I think that should suffice.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Should a spy who has been caught once be able to use his skills again and start infiltrating (the same or a different organization)? If so, what is the disadvantage to being caught? If not, how does creating a new account after being caught as a spy differ from creating a new account for the purpose of infiltrating an enemy organization?

Remember that all the OOC methods of detecting and eliminating spies still apply on top of all the IC methods, as well as all the OOC methods of infiltration, including convincing someone that you have had a genuine change of loyalty.

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
Should a spy who has been caught once be able to use his skills again and start infiltrating (the same or a different organization)?

Yes. That disguise will be blown but they can acquire a new disguise to begin their work again. Remember it isn't like the spy is using a skill called "infiltrate clan." They are just changing their identity so that people don't say. "Oh hey thats Andius, he works for Great Legionnaires. Their new identity joins clans just like any newb would.

DeciusBrutus wrote:
If so, what is the disadvantage to being caught?

That disguise is now revealed, with all the player end implications that come with that. Any rank they earned in that clan or trust they gained as a spy is likely lost now unless they are a REALLY smooth talker IRL. Beyond that they need to buy a new disguise.

DeciusBrutus wrote:
If not, how does creating a new account after being caught as a spy differ from creating a new account for the purpose of infiltrating an enemy organization?

Since the answer is yes, obviously the advantage is getting to retain your stats instead of paying for a 2nd account. People are going to get pretty suspicious of players with no stats, whos stats never raise over time if people are using them as spies.

DeciusBrutus wrote:
Remember that all the OOC methods of detecting and eliminating spies still apply on top of all the IC methods

I am aware. Obviously a spy is going to have to be subtle and make sure they don't give themselves away OOC. This system is supposed to help make that job easier, but a clumsy spy who doesn't cover their tracks will find these skills of little use.

DeciusBrutus wrote:
as well as all the OOC methods of infiltration, including convincing someone that you have had a genuine change of loyalty.

Try convincing people of that after you backstab the first organisation you told that to. I'm sure some people will still use the OOC methods to buy a 2nd account and spy, but this presents a very handy tool to people interested in some casual espionage that don't want to run massive schemes and spend tons of money on new accounts. Everything the spy has at their disposal listed here should make it easy to infiltrate and gain valuable intel on an enemy.

One thing I would like to note is I have had spies work for me as a clan leader before. As well as having infiltrated an enemy clan for the fun of it. I know the value of intel as I actually sat there and read the plot by a clan we had an un-easy peace with to rebuild and start a second war with us. It resulted in us contacting all our allies, readying ourselves for war, and declaring war on them sooner than they expected with a big post on the forums showing everyone how this was in-fact a defensive move with the screenshot of their plans from their forums to prove it.

Never underestimate the value of having low ranked spies in an enemy clan.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Andius wrote:


DeciusBrutus wrote:
If not, how does creating a new account after being caught as a spy differ from creating a new account for the purpose of infiltrating an enemy organization?

Since the answer is yes, obviously the advantage is getting to retain your stats instead of paying for a 2nd account. People are going to get pretty suspicious of players with no stats, whos stats never raise over time if people are using them as spies.

I think that the most suspicious thing would be an experienced player/character with lots of skills but no known history.

Goblin Squad Member

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DeciusBrutus wrote:
Andius wrote:


DeciusBrutus wrote:
If not, how does creating a new account after being caught as a spy differ from creating a new account for the purpose of infiltrating an enemy organization?

Since the answer is yes, obviously the advantage is getting to retain your stats instead of paying for a 2nd account. People are going to get pretty suspicious of players with no stats, whos stats never raise over time if people are using them as spies.

I think that the most suspicious thing would be an experienced player/character with lots of skills but no known history.

That is only suspicious in a small game. A good spy should easily be able to list off some fictitious company or one with no active players left that they used to be part of.

If there is a company history like there is an employment history in EVE, then yes it won't work... I never liked the employment history in EVE anyway though. Let people's past be their past, they will tell you about it if they want to.

Goblin Squad Member

To be honest I fail to see the point of an in game spy/disguise mechanic, If there is even a 5% chance of detection it will be completely useless. A duplicate accounts stats could raise over time. A spy that is learning something valuble enough, or planning an elaborate climb, would be worth funneling the skymetal over to to advance his cause and keep him upgrading while he is within an allience, and if it isn't then why even bother, it won't be worth the characters time to build up the guise and earn his way to a position of trust.

Goblin Squad Member

Onishi wrote:
To be honest I fail to see the point of an in game spy/disguise mechanic, If there is even a 5% chance of detection it will be completely useless. A duplicate accounts stats could raise over time. A spy that is learning something valuble enough, or planning an elaborate climb, would be worth funneling the skymetal over to to advance his cause and keep him upgrading while he is within an allience, and if it isn't then why even bother, it won't be worth the characters time to build up the guise and earn his way to a position of trust.

If you want to rip off someone's bank that is probably true that you might make a new account.

If you are just planning to pretend to not have a microphone while you listen in on their Teamspeak and relay the information back to your clan, and read all the information on their private forums... then a disguise that requires them to run an expensive background check would be fine.

Goblin Squad Member

Nice ideas... but everything I heard so far about PFO is that NPCs are not playing a big role except to get you started. PFO is all about player interaction.

So I don't know if a complex system like yours would be warranted.

Goblin Squad Member

MicMan wrote:

Nice ideas... but everything I heard so far about PFO is that NPCs are not playing a big role except to get you started. PFO is all about player interaction.

So I don't know if a complex system like yours would be warranted.

Read the crafting blog.

I also an 90% sure quests are a confirmed feature and I know 3 NPC factions were mentioned in the Crusader Road blog.

Players are going to be carving out their own kingdoms, changing the world around them and engaging in their own conflicts... but nothing about what I have read has lead me to believe NPCs will play such an insignificant role that the suggested abilities revolving around them wouldn't be useful

Goblin Squad Member

Andius wrote:
Read the crafting blog.

Guess what, I did.

There are likely several instances where you "hire" your own NPCs and how well these perform is very likely dependant on the skill needed to set up the whole thing (Prospector, Drill Sergeant...). This is because I would consider it bad design if you need several different skills for exactly the same thing (one for setting up the camp and another for how well the camp works afterwards?!).

In all other MMOs that use such a system it is used to influence the prices/availability of items and it has been expressively stated that the eco is player driven, i.e. noone really needs to buy something from NPCs past a certain level.

This will kill any skill that is only useful when interacting with NPCs as opposed to being useful when using your profession or interacting with resources or other players.

Goblin Squad Member

NPCs will also make a significant impact on Harvesting, Processing, Crafting, and basic Settlement health. I actually think there's a lot of room for some Diplomacy-type skills, as well as Espionage skills that key off of manipulating these common folk.

Goblin Squad Member

What you do not seem to understand is that skillpoints are THE MOST VALUABLE ASSET of your character.

They come slow, they define what you are and what you can do.

So all skills need to be very useful and crucial in order to get picked.

So take Gather Information as suggested above, which would allow you to go on "secret quests".

Fine. You spend a lot of your precious skill-training on being able to unlock quests only to SUCK at them because you are actually bad at swinging a sword while ON the quest?! Sounds like a bot skill and the quests are better yield AWESOME reward for all that mess.

Or take Sense Motive. The inclusion of such a skill implies that NPCs can LIE TO YOU?! How would that work in the age of readily available internet walkthroughs (aside from being cheesy: "go north and collect 10 Snake tails" and then the snakes are in the south)?

Finally, as has been said, Diplomacy to interact with your hirelings is stupid because you need another skill to even set up the hirelings ("Swell, I now have Prospector maxed and can set up the gold camp deluxe, alas it will not do much because I still haven't got high Diplomacy").

Goblin Squad Member

MicMan wrote:
So all skills need to be very useful and crucial in order to get picked.

Not really. I guarantee you there will be players who choose to limit their Adventuring ability to train up their ability to Harvest or Craft, even though they will be very interested in being effective Adventurers.

MicMan wrote:
Or take Sense Motive. The inclusion of such a skill implies that NPCs can LIE TO YOU?!

Not really. The way we've talked about it before is that it would be great if a PC could declare certain Motives in-game, with there being some kind of real in-game benefit to achieving those goals. Sense Motive (and other skills) could reveal those goals and motives to other PCs.

MicMan wrote:
Finally, as has been said, Diplomacy to interact with your hirelings is stupid because you need another skill to even set up the hirelings ("Swell, I now have Prospector maxed and can set up the gold camp deluxe, alas it will not do much because I still haven't got high Diplomacy").

PFO might or might not tie the effectiveness of the common folk at your Harvesting Camp to your Harvesting skill. It certainly isn't outside the realm of possibility that there will be an entire set of skills that affect common folk that apply to Harvesting Camps, Processing Stations, Crafting Stations, and Settlements as a whole.

Goblin Squad Member

MicMan wrote:

What you do not seem to understand is that skillpoints are THE MOST VALUABLE ASSET of your character.

They come slow, they define what you are and what you can do.

So all skills need to be very useful and crucial in order to get picked.

So take Gather Information as suggested above, which would allow you to go on "secret quests".

Fine. You spend a lot of your precious skill-training on being able to unlock quests only to SUCK at them because you are actually bad at swinging a sword while ON the quest?! Sounds like a bot skill and the quests are better yield AWESOME reward for all that mess.

I the fact that you are ignoring all the player interaction features I wrote in insulting, and troll-like in nature. Unlocking secret quests and locations was the more MINOR feature of gather information.

The most MAJOR feature is being able to use it to track down what hex people are in which is an INSANELY useful skill for bounty hunters, mainly revolving around player interaction.

The other later suggested feature of using it to run background checks on spies is also quite useful.

MicMan wrote:
Or take Sense Motive. The inclusion of such a skill implies that NPCs can LIE TO YOU?! How would that work in the age of readily available internet walkthroughs (aside from being cheesy: "go north and collect 10 Snake tails" and then the snakes are in the south)?

Or to see through low level disguises or to allow bounty hunters to see through any disguise of a tracked target. Again, major player interaction use.

MicMan wrote:
Finally, as has been said, Diplomacy to interact with your hirelings is stupid because you need another skill to even set up the hirelings ("Swell, I now have Prospector maxed and can set up the gold camp deluxe, alas it will not do much because I still haven't got high Diplomacy").

Or the parley ability which you can use to make entire spawns of hostile NPCs ignore your company, or even change their alignment. If you don't think there are going to be goblin, orc, kobald, gnoll, bandit, cultist, and other intelligent NPC spawns that would make this skill worthwhile then I don't think we are reading about the same game.

Beyond that increased options in quests and increased rewards IS valuable. I understand you want to play a character that has the single objective of smashing things. Personally I like to run with some utility characters in my party and will likely be taking this diplomacy skill myself should it be offered. You can go slay the lich with pure strength while my character finds out that the quest giver has some rare and valuable holy water that will make the task much easier, and convinces him to give it to us. Then reaps a better reward in the end. For the entire party.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Except that complicated scripted player interactions with NPCs is basically theme park style play. If the quest giver has enough holy water for everybody with diplomacy, why doesn't he give it all to the first person who convinces him that it's worthwhile, or to the most diplomatic?

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
Except that complicated scripted player interactions with NPCs is basically theme park style play. If the quest giver has enough holy water for everybody with diplomacy, why doesn't he give it all to the first person who convinces him that it's worthwhile, or to the most diplomatic?

Because it has been stated this game is a cross between a theme-park and a sandbox, not a pure sandbox. If we aren't going to see some theme-park styled quests I really wonder what was meant by that.

Quote:

Sandbox vs. Theme Park

We've already told you that we're making a sandbox MMO with theme park elements...

Even EVE didn't individually tailor each mission to the evolving world. The amount of programming it would take to make a system like that work would be... staggering.

I'm kind of figuring many players will be running the same exact mission, and player kingdoms/player owned structures/not being forced into an NPC faction will be where the sandbox comes in.

Goblin Squad Member

Theme Park doesn't have to mean Quests. To me, it just signifies developer-generated content. That could just as easily be dungeon crawls.

Goblin Squad Member

Not necessarily but there is a high likelyhood, and I actually don't think there would be anything wrong with it.

If the quests were WoW style quests, where you talk to the NPC with the quest icon over his head and he says "Go kill X goblins and bring back X goblins spears." Then yeah... don't bother with quests. That would be pretty damn lame especially since we won't be getting XP from them.

HOWEVER, the quests are more akin to something like Oblivion/Skyrim where you are talking to a random NPC and the conversation leads to you talking about some problem they have, which leads to "Go through this dungeon filled with traps and puzzles and monsters who you don't necessarily need to confront and kill this person, or retrieve a rubbing from this inscription, or bring back this powerful magical artifact..." That in my opinion WOULD be game enhancing, and more in keeping with the style of quests you take in D&D/Pathfinder. It gives people a reason to say "Lets party up and go do some questing together!" Not everyone is going to jump when you say "Lets party up and see if we can randomly stumble across a dungeon!"

Something like the repeatable thieves guild quests from Skyrim could also be nice. "Go to X NPC house and rob/plant X object/objects." Then you get a bit of coin when you are done.

These quests probably would have more player/NPC interaction and more opportunities to get something like that special holy water to use on the lich and his undead minions or the key that leads into the secret chamber which may shorten the quest or give special rewards.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

If there is a lich for every player, or the same lich every day for every player, it's a theme park MMO, and player actions regarding that quest have no effect on the world. If there's an event wherein a NPC lich exists, and a player or party or company or settlement or alliance can kill the lich, it's a sandbox with some developer controlled elements.

Repeatable quests which do not and should not have a direct effect on the world, or which should and DO have an effect on the world, are also consistent: "Bring back the heads of twenty goblins" quests should (and apparently will) reduce the number of goblins in the wild, eventually driving them out of the area- but because of killing goblins, not because of completing the quest.

I still don't see the point of gating the theme park aspects behind an arbitrary skill or ability barrier. Let everyone try to take out the lich, even characters who aren't even powerful enough to bother raising as undead to challenge the next group...

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:

If there is a lich for every player, or the same lich every day for every player, it's a theme park MMO, and player actions regarding that quest have no effect on the world. If there's an event wherein a NPC lich exists, and a player or party or company or settlement or alliance can kill the lich, it's a sandbox with some developer controlled elements.

Repeatable quests which do not and should not have a direct effect on the world, or which should and DO have an effect on the world, are also consistent: "Bring back the heads of twenty goblins" quests should (and apparently will) reduce the number of goblins in the wild, eventually driving them out of the area- but because of killing goblins, not because of completing the quest.

I still don't see the point of gating the theme park aspects behind an arbitrary skill or ability barrier. Let everyone try to take out the lich, even characters who aren't even powerful enough to bother raising as undead to challenge the next group...

Having certain dungeons that can't be permanently cleared out by players or monsters that can be used by multiple people on the same quest doesn't turn a game where you can carve out entire player run kingdoms and build player owned settlements into a theme-park. In turns it into a sandbox with theme park elements. Which is what the developers have SAID they are making. What you have said is pure sandbox. MOST sandboxs have some developer made content like repeatable quests/missions and and a few NPC cities.

If every area in the game can be cleared out of enemies, and every enemy in the game who gets killed is permanently gone for everyone... there isn't going to be much room for epic adventures in this game. Personally I would like to see this world have a few dungeons that will always be dungeons, and have a few quests in every town that will be there for every player. Is it 100% realistic. No. Is it a good game design feature? I believe yes.

If we limit ourselves to "Bake 10 loaves of bread and bring them to me." or "Kill 20 goblins and bring me their spears." just because those are the only kinds of quests that are logically repeatable... Then we are going to have tons of crappy quests just like a themepark except UNLIKE the themepark if we run the quest too much they will go away for awhile "Ooooooooooooooooh. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh."

If we rely on developer run events to ever have epic enemies to fight, there will be a few developer run events a year.

If have a system that allows the developers to build epic quests that lead us into a dungeon where we fight something, or collect something, that another group adventurers will be able to fight or collect later that leaves rooms for the developers to populate this world with hundreds of epic and engaging quests much like Skyrim, and everyone will be able to enjoy that content.

Personally to me the options break down like this:

1. Limit the quality of quests in order to preserve their realism and this game's sandbox title.
2. Limit the quantity of quests in order to preserve their realism and this game's sandbox title.
3. Call it a sandbox with some theme-park features and have a ton of high quality quests that aren't quite as realistic.

I personally like the third the best. The fact some other adventurer may have killed the Minotaur Warlord after fighting past his puzzles, and traps, and hordes of minions before me doesn't stop it from being an engaging well designed quest.

This is going to be a game with thousands of players. If we can clear every dungeon and permanently beat every quest, most of them will never get to fight anything epic in their time in this game.

Goblin Squad Member

Andius wrote:
I the fact that you are ignoring all the player interaction features I wrote in insulting...

Sorry. My first post was that I found them nice, just not working in an MMO like PFO. Which you answered with "Read the crafting blog."...

It is clear that your ideas stem from a tabletop RPG where they all have their justification. But an MMO does not work like that, be it sandbox or theme park.

Your player features are broken (locate any player anywhere, get an activity/chat log of a player) and/or cheesy (disguise = players can change names freely).

Your mob features are not working because they withhold content from players in one way or the other for no reason at all. Just imagine a questline where you can either have a big long fight at the end for a whole party or a single diplomat could click a single mob once instead. See a problem?

Your friendly NPC features seem to be not valuable enough to warrant a separate skillline.

Goblin Squad Member

MicMan wrote:
Andius wrote:
I the fact that you are ignoring all the player interaction features I wrote in insulting...

Sorry. My first post was that I found them nice, just not working in an MMO like PFO. Which you answered with "Read the crafting blog."...

It is clear that your ideas stem from a tabletop RPG where they all have their justification. But an MMO does not work like that, be it sandbox or theme park.

Your player features are broken (locate any player anywhere, get an activity/chat log of a player) and/or cheesy (disguise = players can change names freely).

Your mob features are not working because they withhold content from players in one way or the other for no reason at all. Just imagine a questline where you can either have a big long fight at the end for a whole party or a single diplomat could click a single mob once instead. See a problem?

Your friendly NPC features seem to be not valuable enough to warrant a separate skillline.

1. EVE has a player locator system for bounty hunters/anyone as well. It's not broken. In-fact, in a game where bounties are only going to be available to the select group of players you make them available too, travel times between towns are going to be fairly lengthy, and bounties are supposed to function as an anti-griefer mechanic... I would go so far as to say a player locator option is a REQUIRED mechanic. If they don't use gather information they need to use something else, because the bounty hunting company you select isn't going to ride 20 minutes to hunt someone down because they THINK they are there. They will go that far because they KNOW they are there.

2. You don't HAVE to make it the way you are talking where its a huge long fight or you one shot the boss. If you could apply that holy water to the party member's weapons for 10-20% extra damage against undead that's useful but not overly crippling without it. It doesn't "Gate content" anymore than having lockpicking for rogues does.

3. You can make skills as useful as you want. If you have a skill that is one tenth as useful is most skills, you make it take one tenth the training time.

Goblin Squad Member

Andius wrote:

Personally to me the options break down like this:

1. Limit the quality of quests in order to preserve their realism and this game's sandbox title.
2. Limit the quantity of quests in order to preserve their realism and this game's sandbox title.
3. Call it a sandbox with some theme-park features and have a ton of high quality quests that aren't quite as realistic.

For 3. Where is the large quanity of development time for large quanity of developer created content? In general the devs have regularly used the references saying 2 key things are the core focuses. Persistance and players being the primary content. Now they have mentioned the modules concept actually having repeatable things, generally attached from a main hub that teleports people into instances, but then have more or less said that the majority of everything else is intended to be a sandbox first and foremost.

If I recall in Ryan's quotes, he even refered to skyrim as having far too little persistance for his tastes (mainly referring to the fact that most all changes and events are highly localized despite events that should impact far more then just 1 city. Regular quests that repeat themselves, enemies in the real world that repeatedly respawn and just about anything that you would refrence as "good" quests, completely ruin the feel of a sandbox altogether. That isn't a sandbox with theme park elements, that is a themepark with sandbox elements.

The 2 repeated buzzwords I hear from Ryan have been "Persistance" and "You are the content". Talking about major deep quests that involve a deep storyline that nothing ever changes, isn't a theme park element, that is basically the bulk of development time being spent on what is essentially a minor portion, a small side treat of the game.

The modules are the theme park of the game, in which we know at least some of will actually cost money, possibly some of them will cost skymetal, which also makes sense, as it makes the work on the minor element, directly grant extra money to pay for itself, as it essentially is an added bonus, not the core focus of the game.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Andius wrote:

2. You don't HAVE to make it the way you are talking where its a huge long fight or you one shot the boss. If you could apply that holy water to the party member's weapons for 10-20% extra damage against undead that's useful but not overly crippling without it. It doesn't "Gate content" anymore than having lockpicking for rogues does.

If the party has two diplomats, do they get twice the holy water? Is the holy water magically usable in only this one quest? Is the diplomacy a game in itself, or an ability check?

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
Andius wrote:
2. You don't HAVE to make it the way you are talking where its a huge long fight or you one shot the boss. If you could apply that holy water to the party member's weapons for 10-20% extra damage against undead that's useful but not overly crippling without it. It doesn't "Gate content" anymore than having lockpicking for rogues does.
If the party has two diplomats, do they get twice the holy water? Is the holy water magically usable in only this one quest? Is the diplomacy a game in itself, or an ability check?

If you have two lockpicking rouges do you get twice the loot? Is the loot you get usable only on this one quest? Is lockpicking a game in itself or an ability check?

No to the first question. Yes to the second (It would be a consumable though so if you used it for another quest you wouldn't have it for this one). Its simply another tool at your disposal with you may or may not use for the advantages it offers.

While I hate to hash out for too long on the details of this one theoretical quest reward because its entirely beside the point... one diplomat would get either 10 vials of holy water, or 1 for each member of the party. You could use them however you want but they would be useful for the specific quest you went on.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

So, one diplomat gets an unlimited amount of holy water, because the quest is repeatable. The thief waits outside the cavern and joins every group (that doesn't already have a lockpicker) and gets an unlimited number of shares of loot from the chest.

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
So, one diplomat gets an unlimited amount of holy water, because the quest is repeatable. The thief waits outside the cavern and joins every group (that doesn't already have a lockpicker) and gets an unlimited number of shares of loot from the chest.

Exactly why I really am wondering how static repeatable modules will really fit with the theme of the game. The vast majority of normal "Lairs, haunts, hideouts etc..." eliminate this problem by staying cleared after they've been cleared. I'm currious what form of reward from a normal module is really plausible to make it worth the time to do, but not strongly surpass the meat of the game, which is largely persistant dungeons that have to be tracked down, found and then can only be cleared by one group once. In my opinion fairness will involve erring on the side of lower value for said instances, making the reward primaraly being faction reputation or similar to avoid an excessive flow of items into the world.

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
So, one diplomat gets an unlimited amount of holy water, because the quest is repeatable. The thief waits outside the cavern and joins every group (that doesn't already have a lockpicker) and gets an unlimited number of shares of loot from the chest.

You are coming up with the worse possible scenario for everything and putting no thought into the solution. Having a lot of quests that don't change from person to person doesn't mean all of these quests can be repeated by the same person over and over.

Also its easy to implement a system where people can't ask for the same diplomacy reward over and over and over. A, there are something called quest cooldown timers where if you cancel a quest it won't let you retake it for a certain period or do like EVE and penalize people for canceling quests. B, you could make having actually gotten the reward before makes it so that when you talk to the NPC they say. "I don't have any more holy water to give you." or "Why the hell isn't that lich dead?!"

If a rouge wants to party with new groups over, and over, and over for the same dungeon for lockpicking rewards let them. There shouldn't be anything in there that would make that too broken. Just some extra coins and other random items and consumables. Not the "OMG-WTH-SWORD-OF-YOU-SHOULD-HAVE-BROUGHT-SOMEONE-WITH-LOCKPICKING!!!!!!"

If you guys seriously don't want lockpicking, diplomacy, or any other iconic D&D ability that makes things easier or gives a bit of extra reward I'm kind of wondering why you are even interested a Pathfinder game. Did you run parties with nothing but 6 intelligence barbarians who put their points into swim and jump?

Personally I loved utility characters, and would find any supposedly D&D based game that didn't make use of them entirely lacking. Epic quests and inventive ways of dealing with interesting challenges is what DEFINES D&D in my opinion. A game that simply has me clearing random monsters out of caves with no circumstances that require me to make inventive use of my skills, cleverly talk my way through something, or be involved in some kind of story is just not D&D IMO.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Andius wrote:
DeciusBrutus wrote:
So, one diplomat gets an unlimited amount of holy water, because the quest is repeatable. The thief waits outside the cavern and joins every group (that doesn't already have a lockpicker) and gets an unlimited number of shares of loot from the chest.

You are coming up with the worse possible scenario for everything and putting no thought into the solution. Having a lot of quests that don't change from person to person doesn't mean all of these quests can be repeated by the same person over and over.

Also its easy to implement a system where people can't ask for the same diplomacy reward over and over and over. A, there are something called quest cooldown timers where if you cancel a quest it won't let you retake it for a certain period or do like EVE and penalize people for canceling quests. B, you could make having actually gotten the reward before makes it so that when you talk to the NPC they say. "I don't have any more holy water to give you." or "Why the hell isn't that lich dead?!"

If a rouge wants to party with new groups over, and over, and over for the same dungeon for lockpicking rewards let them. There shouldn't be anything in there that would make that too broken. Just some extra coins and other random items and consumables. Not the "OMG-WTH-SWORD-OF-YOU-SHOULD-HAVE-BROUGHT-SOMEONE-WITH-LOCKPICKING!!!!!!"

If you guys seriously don't want lockpicking, diplomacy, or any other iconic D&D ability that makes things easier or gives a bit of extra reward I'm kind of wondering why you are even interested a Pathfinder game. Did you run parties with nothing but 6 intelligence barbarians who put their points into swim and jump?

Personally I loved utility characters, and would find any supposedly D&D based game that didn't make use of them entirely lacking. Epic quests and inventive ways of dealing with interesting challenges is what DEFINES D&D in my opinion. A game that simply has me clearing random monsters out of caves with no circumstances that require me to...

I'm looking at what I consider trivial conclusions of emergent behavior. There are certainly ways to mitigate the problems, but those mitigations themselves have problems. Diplomacy abilities could be required to formalize player treaties and negotiation, and locked containers can be present in the lairs of intelligent creatures, without creating what amounts to a speed bump or quickly opening exploitative behavior.

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
I'm looking at what I consider trivial conclusions of emergent behavior. There are certainly ways to mitigate the problems, but those mitigations themselves have problems. Diplomacy abilities could be required to formalize player treaties and negotiation, and locked containers can be present in the lairs of intelligent creatures, without creating what amounts to a speed bump or quickly opening exploitative behavior.

Really? So you see diplomacy tied to player negotiations as less of an ability check, with less room for exploitation than diplomacy tied to NPC quests?

I am REALLY interested to hear the system you have in mind.

Personally I have found every mechanic tied to clan to clan interaction in sandbox style games to be miserable failures or 100% ability check skills.

Darkfall, Mortal, and EVE all had war systems which allowed players to attack each-other in towns if they were at war with each-other. All of these systems were HORRIBLY exploited by griefers whether it was just for clans to make their entire business attacking new clans in what should be safe areas, and running the weakest most fledgling clans out of the game. Or things like exploiting the nature of fighting in cities with the blue-blocking. A process in which neutral players jump in-front of combatants to get hit by their abilities, especially more AoE style abilities, and set the guards on them.

In EVE the skills tied to corporation management were 100% ability check with NO overall enhancements to gameplay. It was just "Spend X time training X skill to allow X number of members to join your clan."

Its a complete waste of time that does nothing but hold back people who want to lead clans from creating stronger characters. At least my diplomacy has useful side effects like parley and new options/rewards from conversations with NPCs.

Any additions to player treaties will just be abused OOC. Such as "You need X diplomacy to demand X amount of tribute from a conquered clan." That will only lead to things like "Ok we can only demand 10,000 gold tribute from you, but if you don't want us to utterly destroy you as soon as the war cool-down timer is off, you WILL pay us 50,000 gold."

The best systems for wars and alliances is this. Allow people to declare clans hostile, unfriendly, neutral, friendly, or allied. Hostile show as red. Unfriendly show as orange. Neutral show as white. Friendly show as light blue. Allied show as dark green. Same company is light green.

None of this should have ANY EFFECT ON ANYTHING. It should only be a visual display to help your members keep track of who they need to kill, who they should leave alone, and who are their allies. There shouldn't been any raging battles between enemy clans fought right in-front of town guards. There shouldn't be any mechanics limiting negotiations. It should be 100% player interaction with no mechanics involved.

Social skills need to be kept to NPCs, or things like gather information where you are simply finding someone.

As someone who has lead a clan in a game like Darkfall I can tell you; any other system WILL be a disaster.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

I would permit fights in patrolled areas between mutually declared factions, and restrict declared players from hiding in patrolled areas, but overall I agree that player diplomacy shouldn't be limited by character choices. I wouldn't limit the terms of a cease-fire, even the duration, only whether or not a settlement leader could prevent settlement members from attacking members of a specific other settlement.

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
I would permit fights in patrolled areas between mutually declared factions, and restrict declared players from hiding in patrolled areas, but overall I agree that player diplomacy shouldn't be limited by character choices. I wouldn't limit the terms of a cease-fire, even the duration, only whether or not a settlement leader could prevent settlement members from attacking members of a specific other settlement.

I can do that with no skills at all. If I don't declare a settlement hostile, they don't give my members a reason to attack them, and my members still attack it, they won't be members long enough to make the same mistake again.

I would find a skill that actually prevented them from attacking them cheesy, and not use it. If that settlement starts going out and griefing newbs or talking trash to my members I don't want a game-mechanic leash around their neck. I want them to use their discretion and if needed attack or even destroy that settlement.

As a leader I set boundaries for my members, trust them to follow them, and use their discretion. I really would make no use of a system that tried to force them to follow my orders and left them no discretion. Anyone who needs a mechanic to force their members to listen to them probably shouldn't be leading anyway.

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